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or THE 









Rev. ROBERT JlDJiM, E. A Oxford, 

Minister of the Episcopal Congregation, BlaaW>iHi"s Wy.'ncly Eflinburgh ; 
aud Chaplain to tlie Riglit Honourable th? fcail'of-liellif:.',' ', , 

Prove all things : hold fast that'T.vhic^'i,s g'Oc/d,', ,' .' ' 
^^_ . u', ,• I.ThiJjsai, S.'v.'Sl. 

^ VOL. I. 




No. 52, Chesnut Street. 


" We have, I verily believe, in our country, the best establishment of 
Christianity, in doctrine and discipline, and the most conducive to every 
good purpose of society ; but yet it behoves us to look impartially into the 
different controversies and opinions, and Confessions of Faith." — Archbishop 
Drummond's Letter on Theol. Study, subjoined to his Sermons, ^yoA^QS. 









Through a life prolonged for valuable purposes. 

And through the various fortunes of the Church to which he belonged, 

Continuing ever faithfully and zealously 

To exercise piety towards God, 

And charity towards man, 

Died on the 27th of August, A. D. 1809, 

In the 89th year of his age, and the 22d,of his episcopate, 

Full of years and of hoxloA^h; 

THIS WORK „', . , 

is inscribed •>,•''•'';',' 


With feelings of gratitude, with the afiection Of> 'a'ooy^ ■ ; 
And with the veneration due 




AS the Sciipturcs, fiom whence all 
Christians investigate their piinciples of be- 
lief, and rules of conduct, have been va- 
riously interpreted by different commenta- 
tors and others, these diversities have given 
birth to a multiphcity of different sects and 
parties. And, as the history and knowledge 
of rehgious sects may be said to constitute 
a branch of general, ecclesiastical, and hte- 
rary history, a part of the original materials, 
of which the following work is composed, 
was collected, not so much with a view to 
publication, as to satisfy private curiosity, 
and from the desire of adding to the au- 
thor's stock of professional knowledge. 

He now submits it to public inspection 
with much diffidence, though not witliout 
good advice, foreseeing, that, not^\ithstandi 
ing all his labour and endeavours to come 


at the real knowledge of the history and 
present state of the various controversies 
and parties into which the religious world 
is unhappily divided, he will be found to 
Iiave misstated or misunderstood the prin- 
ciples or practices of some rehgionists, and 
will be himself misunderstood in what he 
has said respecting others. 

By the operation and influence of private 
vanity, or of that wisdom which is too con- 
fident in its own opinions, and too con- 
temptuous of those of others, opinions rise 
into doctrines, doctrines swell into distinc- 
tions, and distinctions increase and break 
off into sects, extending and multiplying 
into endless circles. And, as Dr. Hey has 
well observed — " Some sects have no pre- 
cise ideas, and therefore no Creeds, Cate- 
cliisms, Confessions of Faith, nor any eccle- 
siastical history ; hence their doctrines will 
be unsteady ; sects wiE ramify and mix im- 
perceptibly, keeping the same names, in 
such a manner as to elude all regular and 
systematical investigation." * 

Taking therefore into account, the com- 
prehensive object of this work ; the neces- 

* N'orridan Lectures, Vol. III. p. 38. 


sity of close investigation, and patient dis- 
crimination ; — the great number of works 
to be consulted ; the correspondence, and 
other requisites for doing justice to the 
subject, I may be allowed to say of my 
office, without magnifying it, that it is one 
of no small labour and difficulty. And the 
more heartily the reader agrees with me 
in this, he will of course be the more dis- 
posed to exercise candour, and make all 
due allowance for my failures in the dis- 
charge of it. 

But though, Considering my delicate state 
of health, the little leisure that I enjoy from 
the important duties of a small, but labo- 
rious charge, and other disadvantages under 
which I labour, few may be of opinion that 
I was prompted by prudence to undertake 
it ; most readers, I trust, will admit that, in 
discharging it, I have been guided by can- 
dour and moderation. 

No one, it is hoped, who shall take the 
trouble of looking into these volumes, will 
here find his principles attacked or de- 
cried ; as far, at least, as I may have misre- 
presented those of any sect or party what- 
ever, so far have I failed in my object, which 
was to give a fair and candid statement of 


existing sentiments, and differences of opi- 
nion on the important subject of religion. 

Should this work, therefore, fall into the 
hands of any " men, brethren, or fathers," 
who may be disposed to estimate its value 
from the quantity of abuse that I have 
thrown upon the various sects and secta- 
rists, or from the severity with which I have 
treated them, they will be much disappoint- 
ed, I trust, in perusing it. To such readers, 
and such, perhaps, there still are, though I 
fondly hope, " rari najites in gurgite vasto,'' 
I have only to say, " Go ye and learn what 
that meaneth" — " Now abideth faith, hope, 
chariUj, tjiese three ; but the greatest of 
these is charity;'' and to remind them, in 
the words of an able divine of the present 
day, whose churchmanship has never, I be- 
lieve, been called in question, that — " Since, 
unhappily, there are still so many subjects 
of debate among those who ' name the 
name of Cliiist,' it is doubtless every one's 
duty, after divesting himself, as much as 
possible, of prejudice, to investigate those 
subjects with accuracy, and to adhere to 
tliat side of each disputed question, which, 
after such investigation, appears to him to 
be tlie truth. But he transgresses the fa- 


vourite precept of his Divine Master, when 
he casts injurious reflections, or denounces 
anathemas, on those who, with equal since- 
rity, view the matter in a different light; 
and, by his want of charity, does more 
harm to the religion of the Prince of Peace, 
than he could possibly do good, were he 
able to convert all mankind to his own or- 
thodox opinions. 

On the principle of Fleiiry, that " every 
one ought to be beheved concerning Ms 
own doctrine, and the history of his own 
sect," I have not only had recourse to va- 
rious v/orks wherein the principles and 
practices of the several denominations, 
sects, and parties, are detailed by them- 
selves and others, and have carefully culled 
from them whatever seemed applicable to 
my purpose ; but I have also invited to my 
assistance living authors, or other learned 
and distinguished characters of most deno- 
minations. And, I am happy to say, that 
there are very few instances in which, on 
my stating the object and plan of the work, 
the invitation has not been very readily and 
cheerfully accepted. 

It would give me pleasure, were I at li= 
berty to mention the names of all those 



who have eitlier written, or contributed to- 
wards, the following account of their re- 
spective denominations, both as it would 
give authenticity and respectability to the 
work, and as such notice is the very least 
that I owe them. But, while I must now 
be satisfied with acknowledging my obliga- 
tions to them all in general, I feel it my duty 
to mention here, and I hope I shall be ex- 
cused for mentioning in particular, two very 
able and willino; contril)utors in London; the 
Rev. C. E. A Schwabe, and Joshua Van 
Oven, Esq. ; the former a learned, respecta- 
ble, and amiable pastor of the Lutheran 
Church ; and the latter, a learned, distin- 
guished, and worthy member of the Society 
of German Jews; — "an Israelite indeed;'' 
one of many qui tales sunt, utinam essent 

Some of my friends have done me the fa- 
vour to proffer their assistance, and some of 
my correspondents have kindly promised to 
continue theirs, for the improvement of this 
work ; and I will be happy to open a corres- 
pondence with others, for the same purpose. 
I also look up to the public organs of criti- 
cism for many useful hints and remarks, of 
which I will thankfully avail myself^ if can- 


didly communicated; so that, should a se- 
cond edition be called for, it will most like- 
ly be more correct, and less unworthy, in 
many respects, of the public attention. 

That I should he permitted to see ano- 
ther edition, is, I freely admit, what I anxi- 
ously wish and desire ; for, as the work will 
most likely survive the author, I would not 
that any unjust aspersion, cast by him, how- 
ever unintentionally, on any sect, party, or 
individual whatever, should remain unwiped 
away, when the hand that guides this pen 
shall be mouldering in the dust, and no lon- 
ger able to erase it. At the same time, I 
have not the vanity to think, that, through 
any art or industry of mine, even with all 
the assistance I shall have, this Display* will 
be very generally gazed at and admired ; and 
much less, that I shall be able to please all 
parties ; nor have I the folly to attempt it. 

I am aware that there are some who will 
think that I am become their enemy, because 

* The word Fieiv, which I should have preferred, had 
it not already been anticipated, could not well be wholly 
avoided in the title page ; but I wish the above, or rather 
the original title-t to be used in all cases, wherein this work 
is meant, that it may not interfere with that of Hannah 
Adamst which is now so well known, that it requires no re- 
commendation from me. 


I have told them the truth ; but, though can- 
did where candour is a duty, I shall never be 
afraid to "blame where I ?nust;'' and as I 
do not admit that I have done such people 
any injury, or given tliem any just ground of 
offence, they need look for no reparation, nor 
expect that I shall apologise or contend. 

Let me be fully convinced of my errors 
and mistakes ; let me be shewn clearly and 
candidly the " hay and stubble" of my per- 
formance, and I will not be backward to 
gather them into bundles, nor the last to set 
a match to them, that they may be burnt. 
But remarks grounded on facts or plain 
tmths, if likely to do more good than liarm, 
I will neither erase nor suppress ; nor vdll 
I enter into controversy, aware how little is 
generally gained by it, while it seldom fails 
that much is lost ; and, that there is often 
more rehgion in not contending, than there 
is in that about which we contend. Were 
we to sit down and consider how we shall 
account for our quarrels and contentions 
when at the end of our journey, we should 
not be so apt to fall out by the way. 

I have frequently adopted tlie senti- 
ments, and sometimes nearly the language, 
of others, without acknowledging it, partly 


to avoid crowding my pages with notes, 
which are still unavoidably numerous, and 
partly as, in many instances, I know not, at 
tliis day, to wliom I am indebted. But no 
one, surely, will complain that I have been 
sparing of authorities ; nor is it likely that 
those authors, living or dead, whom I have 
chiefly consulted, would have grudged me 
the use that I have made of their writings. 

So numerous are the quotations and refe- 
rences in the following work, that some of 
them must of course be from second-hand ; 
I cannot therefore take upon me to vouch 
for their being correct in every instance: 
yet I trust that mistakes of this nature are 
but few. 

I also beg leave to mention here, in jus- 
tice to those who reviewed in MS. the fol- 
lowing views of their respective denomina- 
tions, that some alterations were thought 
necessary in several of those articles, after 
they had received their corrections ; at the 
same time, I am not aware that I have 
made any alterations or additions, that 
those gentlemen will not sanction, or that 
they will disapprove or condemn. 

Viewing tilings as of far more importance 
than words, I have paid no great attention 


to the language in which these volumes are 
written. I trust, however, it will be found 
to be in general correct and perspicuous. 
More indeed than this, the reader cannot 
reasonably expect, for the character of the 
work will scarcely admit of ornament : — 

" Ornari res ipsa negat, contenta docerV 

But, to pass from the work and its author, 
compiler or editor, as the reader shall be 
pleased to call him, to what is of more se- 
rious consequence, the subject of which it 

The perusal of these volumes may per- 
haps, in some measure, gratify the reader's 
curiosity, but it cannot fail to be at the ex- 
pense of exciting his serious regret ; for he 
must here observe how busy the enemy has 
been in sowing tares among the wheat ; — he 
must behold a melancholy illustration of the 
19th article of the Church of England, in 
the errors of many societies; and, what is 
more, he must even remark some, who call 
themselves Christians, cutting and carving 
our rehgion, to make it more grateful to 

He who strives to reconcile differing par- 
ties, and to ameliorate opposite interests, 


deserves well of his fellow-creatures. Yet, 
" let God be true, but every man a liar." 
Let us not, in our eagerness to conciliate, 
abandon a single article of " the faith once 
delivered to the saints," aware that such 
conduct would involve us in guilt of the 
deepest dye, while we should not thereby 
attain the object for which that guilt was 
incurred ; for, as Christianity enjoins and 
requires holiness of heart and life, it will 
ever be opposed and rejected by the carnal 
mind that is enmity against God, and by 
the evil heart of unbelief. 

Besides, it is not, perhaps, so much be- 
cause of our doctrines, as of our divisions, 
that infidels reject and despise our religion. 
Beholding the numberless divisions and con- 
tentions tliat have in all ages prevailed 
among professing Christians, they reject 
Christianity itself, and view it merely as an 
apple of discord; — as a Babel, or, as "a 
beast with many heads and horns all push- 
ing at one another." Fix on any period of 
the Christian Church ; — look into the eccle- 
siastical history of that period, and what will 
you find it to be ? Little more, I suspect, 
than the history of the struggles of differ- 
ent sects and parties to overturn the sys- 


terns of others, in order to build iq) their 
own. And, whether the rent be reaching 
nearer to tlie foundation, or we of the pre- 
sent day be more disposed, than those who 
have gone before us, to keep " the unity of 
the Spirit in the bond of peace," I shall not 
now venture to say ; but, from the data here 
laid before the reader, shall leave him to 
judge for himself. 

It seems reasonable to expect, that they 
who bear the same name, — whose hopes 
are built upon the same foundation,— who 
are led by the same spirit, — who are oppos- 
ed by the same enemies, and interested in 
the same promises, would look upon each 
other with mutual complacence, — would 
love as brethren, — would bear each other's 
burdens, and so fulfil their Master's law, 
and copy his example. But, is such the 
character of professing Christians in the 
present day ? Alas ! instead of this, a mis- 
taken zeal for liis honour, or a blind at- 
tachment to their respective pecuharities, 
fills them on all sides with animosities 
against their fellow-disciples ; splits them 
into a thousand parties ; gives rise to fierce 
and endless contentions, and makes them 
so earnest for their own peculiarities, and 


SO prejudiced against those of others, that 
the love, which is tlie discriminating cha- 
racteristic of his rehgion, is scarcely to be 
found amongst them, in such a degree of ex- 
ercise, as to satisfy even candid observers, 
whether they bear his mark or not. 

Hence it is that unbelievers keep aloof 
from the behef and profession of Christian- 
ity ; and, through these divisions and dis- 
sensions, are the name and doctrine of 
Christ still blasphemed among Jews and 
Pagans, among Turks and Infidels. And 
yet, I know not, tliat such " stumbling- 
blocks" have been more numerous, or more 
prominent, in any country, of late years, 
than in our own ; or, that religious discord 
raises her head higher any where, at tliis 
day, than in Scotland, and among ourselves, 
where she has had the boldness, I may say 
the effrontery, to show herself even in the 
formation of an association, in which unani- 
mity, harmony, and co-operation, among all 
Protestants at least, might surely be expect- 
ed, and if found, would be no great virtue ; 
and where party-work, division, or discord, 
cannot fail to be condemned.* 

* The want of room prevented my giving, as was propos- 
ed, a list and some account of the various societies and as- 



" Pudet hwc opprobria iiobis 

''Et did potiiisse, et 7io?i potuisse refellV 

Among the other visible ill effects of our 
religious divisions and party distinctions, 
effects too numerous for me to recount at 
present, " we may reasonably reckon as a 
very considerable one," says good Mr. Nel- 
son, " the great decay of the spirit and life 
of devotion; foi', while men are so deeply 
concerned for their several schemes^ and 
pursue them with the vigour of their miuds^ 
and tlie bent of their affections, the solid and 
substantial part of religion is apt to evapo- 
rate; and ' charity, the very bond of peace 
and of all virtues, without which, whosoever 
liveth, is counted dead before God,' is but 
too frequently made a sacrifice to those dif- 
ferences that divide us." 

Admitting then, that the subject is not 
exclusively painful ; — that our differences 
of opinion on the subject of religion are in 
many instances innocent, and, for some 
purposes, even useful; — allowing that they 

sociations for propagating and promoting the knowledge ot 
Christianity, both at home and abroad. With most of these, 
however, the generality of readers are, I trust, more or less 
acquainted; suffice it therefore only to remark here, that tnvo 
Bible Societies have very lately been formed in this place. 


promote enquiry, discussion, and know- 
ledge; that they help to keep up an atten- 
tion to religious subjects, and a concern 
about them that might be apt to die away, 
in the calm and silence of universal agree- 
ment ;— in a word, granting that they pro- 
voke examination, prevent implicit faith, 
and lead Christians to build tlieir principles 
on a firm foundation ; — these advantages 
might be allowed considerable weight in 
abating the ill effects of our numerous divi- 
sions, did Christians in general possess the 
disposition wliich Christianity labours above 
all others to inculcate and inspire. But, as 
our divisions are seldom accompanied with 
mutual charity, or rather, as they are natu- 
rally hostile to that charity which our reli- 
gion forbids us to violate, and have so un- 
happy a tendency to check the life and 
growth of the religious principle within, 
they cannot be desirable in a religious point 
of view ; and they are surely ill calculated 
to promote the peace and happiness of civil 

Nay, admitting that the Scriptures have 
descended to us unimpaired, chiefly through 
them ; or that the sects and heresies which 
have scandalised the faith, have served to 


prevent the mutilation of its records: — 
even this advantage, combined with the 
others, can be no equivalent for the loss, or 
the decay, of those essentials of rehgion 
which Mr. Nelson here laments. For, if 
the mind be not spiritually enhghtened, as 
well as the judgment rightly informed ; — if 
the heart be not savingly changed, and the 
affections set on things above, the passions 
properly subdued, and the conduct reform- 
ed, it is of little avail to have the Scriptuj^es 
pure and unadulterated in our hands, or 
even to have just notions of their contents; 
as they will only increase our awful respon- 
sibihty, without enabhng us to give our ac- 
count with joy. 

Christianity does not consist in striking 
out new lights on the subject of religion ; 
nor in forming new systems of faith ; nor in 
treading in new paths of duty: — but in com- 
ing to the hght held out to us in the gospel ; 
— ^in embracing, and adhering to, the faith 
"once delivered to the saints," and in being 
followers of them, who, "through faitli and 
patience, inherit the promises." 

It does not approve of every sort of zeal, 
but only of the zeal that is in a good cause, 
and according to knowledge and charity. 


Nor does it honour with its approbation, 
even a zealous profession of the truth, if 
that profession be not adorned by a suitable 

It does not condemn the preferring of 
one system to another, if there must be a 
choice of systems, — nor our adhering sted- 
fastly to the one we have preferred, after 
due investigation ; but only the want of cha- 
rity towards those who, with equal sincerity 
and stedfastness, maintain different systems 
and principles, and our not liv ing and acting 
agreeably to our own. 

It does not require the sacrifice of our 
substance, but of our animosities, our "strife 
and divisions," — the renunciation of the 
works of the flesh, — the devotion of our 
hearts, as well as of our lips, and the dedi- 
cation of our whole selves, souls and bodies, 
to the Father of our spiiits and the Saviour 
of our souls. 

Nor does it reward all '' to whom are 
committed the oracles of God," or the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament ; 
but those only, who duly search them, — 
who embrace and maintain their leading 
and important doctrines, and who sliew their 
faith by their works, by their exhibiting in 


their lives the various virtues, graces, and 
dispositions, which the Saviour of the world 
recommended in his discourses, and exem- 
plified in his conduct. 

In a word, it is not, as saith Archbishop 
Tillotson, " It is not being gilded over with 
the external profession of Christianity that 
>vill avail us, our rehgion must be a vital 
principle^ inwardly to change and transform 
us J' 

And, yet, that many professing Christians 
of the present day, however they may be- 
lieve all that our Lord and liis apostles have 
spoken, are too liable to the imputation of 
lukewarmness and remissness, by not add- 
ing to their faith, piety, and virtue, is too evi- 
dent to be denied. To the evidences of re- 
velation, they give only that languid assent 
of the understanding, which is destitute of 
the warm and invigorating approbation of 
the heart: and, when employed in exe- 
cuting the commands of God, instead of 
treading the path of duty with delight, and 
glorying in the perfect freedom of the gos- 
pel, they seem to drag the heavy chain of 
reluctant compUance. 

That application of mind, that diligence 
of labour, and that ardour of hope, which 


ought to be shown in the exercise of reli- 
gious duties, are too often directed to un- 
worthy objects. How often, for instance, 
do they assist ambition to climb the giddy 
heights of power, — dissipation to seek the 
flowery, but slippery, paths of pleasure, — 
avarice to amass her wealth, and the pas- 
sions to overleap the bounds of duty ? And, 
when we do behold that alacrity which is so 
apparent in all these pursuits, transferred to 
religion, yet, even then, how often is it ex- 
hausted on its ceremonials or unessentials, 
rather than on its solid and substantial du- 
ties ; — in supporting and extending our own 
peculiarities, or in attacking and decrying 
tliose of others ; — in zeal without know- 
ledge ; — m piety without charity ; or, in 
short, in any thing, but the " one thing 
needful" — in treading the plain, but narrow 
path of Christian duty; or in the exercise 
of those graces and virtues which are " pro- 
fitable unto all things, having promise of 
the life that now is, and of that which is to 

That, amidst all our divisions, tliough 
seemingly still increasing " unto more un- 
godliness," there are exceptions, many ho- 
nourable exceptions, to the truth of these 


remarks, I most readily and cheerfully ad- 
mit. And the conviction that faith and 
love, piety and virtue, zeal and charity, and, 
in sliort, all that fits for heaven, may be 
traced amidst a v^ide diversity of Christian 
parties, is doubtless some consolation for the 
painful feehngs which the perusal of this 
work must excite. 

While the xvriting of it has served to es- 
tablish and settle the author in his own 
piinciples, in preference to those of other 
denominations, it has, at the same time, ex- 
tended and strengthened his charity and 
good-will towards tliose who differ from 
him; and, by the nearer acquaintance with 
them and their principles, to which it has 
been the means of introducing him, his 
charity is no doubt more " according to 

May the reading — the perusal of it, have 
the same happy effect upon all those into 
whose hands it shall lall. May it lead 
them to examine the foundation of their 
own faith, as well as of that of others ; — 
may it serve to excite their Christian cha- 
rity where it was wanting, and to strength- 
en it where it was weak. And, while they 
lament the unhappy contentions and divi- 


sions that prevail in the world, may they 
all laboui' earnestly in their several stations 
to suggest such methods as may prove most 
effectual for recovering and preserving the 
unity of the faith in the bond of peace. At 
the same time, aware that it is he only who 
stUleth the raging of the sea, and the noise 
of his waves, and " the madness of the peo- 
ple," that can say effectually unto contend- 
ing parties, "peace, be still;" and that it is 
he only who gave us the command to "love 
one another," that can enable us duly to 
fulfil it, by our loving, not " in word, nor in 
tongue, but in deed and in truth;'' let them 
fervently beg of God a sovereign remedy for 
these our contentions. 

When, — " O when^ shall all these enmi- 
ties be abolished by the over-powering in- 
fluence of the Spirit of hght and love? — 
Wlien shall these unhappy walls of parti- 
tion be broken down, and the whole flock 
of Christ become one blessed fold under 
Jesus, the Universal Shepherd ? — When 
shall we arrive at the 'perfect unity of the 
faith,' and maintain the ' unity of the Spirit, 
in the bond of love 9' — When shaU the glory 
and beauty of the primitive church be re- 
stored, where the 'multitude of them that 



believed were of one heart arid one soul,' 
united in one faith and hope, by the almigh- 
ty influences of one spirit ? 

" Come, blessed Redeemer ! come and 
accompUsh thine own gracious words of 
promise : — Let there be ' 07ie fold, and one 
shepherd .' and let thy blood and thy spirit, 
by which we have access to one God, even 
the Father, cement all our hearts to each 
other in such an union as shall never be 
dissolved. — Then shall we join with all the 
creation, in one eternal song, even the song 
which thy word has taught us : — ' Blessing, 
and honour, and glory, and power, be unto 
him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the 
Lamb, for ever and ever!'' Amen. 



Preface - - . - . . y 

Introduction - - . . . xxix 

' Judaism and the Jews - - - . - 33 

Paganism and Pagans » - - - - 121 ■ 

' Christianity and Christians - - - - 191 

Mohammedism and Mohammedans ... 249 

Grand Divisions of Christianity .... 322 

Greek and Eastern Churches .... 323 

Greek Church subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople - 326 

' The Russian Greek Church .... 375 

The Russian Sect of Raskolniki or Isbraniki - . 406 

Georgian and Mingrelian Greek Churches ... 412 

Eastern Churches not subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople 417 

The Jacobite Monophy sites - - •- - 419 

The Coptic Monophy sites, or Copts ... 433 

The Abyssinian Monophysites. or Church of Abyssinia - 430 

The Doctrine of the Monophysites ... 435 

The Armenian Church ..... 440 

The Nestorian Churches .... - 458 

The Nestorians of Malabar, or Christians of St. Thomas - 470 

JV*. B. — ^rhe Articles that have one Asterisk prefixed, were reviewed in 
MS., and those with two, were written by some learned member or mem- 
bers of the respective denominations. 


THE Religious World is divided into 
four grand Systems, viz. Judaism, — Pagan- 
ism, — Christianity, — and Mohammedism. 

Judaism comprehends under it, all those 
who still expect and look for a promised 

Paganism, all those who have not the 
knowledge of the true God, but worship 

Christianity, all those who believe that 
the promised Messiah is already come, that 
Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and the Saviour 
of the world; — and, 

Mohammedism, all those who acknow- 
ledge Mohammed to have been a Prophet. 

The only people who may not be classed 
under one or oilier of these four divisions, 
are, the Deists and the Atheists; — the latter 


differing from them all, in owning no reli- 
gion ; and the former, in owning no revela- 
tion as the foundation of their religion. 

The inhabitants of the world may be sup- 
posed to amount, at the present time, to 
about - - - . 800,000,000 
Of whom we may suppose 

The Jews to be - 2,500,000 

The Pagans, - 482,000,000 

The Christians, - 175,500,000 

The Mohammedans, 140,000,000 

— ^ 800,000,000 

The grand Subdivisions among Christians 
are, — 

1. The Greek and Eastern Churches. 

2. The Roman Catholics, who acknow- 

ledge the authority of the Pope ; and, 

3. The Profestafits, or Reformed Churches 

and Sects, who reject it. 

Their numbers may be thus, — 

The Greek and Eastern Churches, - 30,000,000 
The Roman Catholics, - - 80,000,000 

The Protestants, - - 65,500,000 


J\bt€. In the former table. Deists and Atheists are com- 
prehended, but not specified, as they are no where distinct, 
and as it is not possible to ascertain their numbers. 


To give a view of these four general sys- 
tems of religion, and of their various sub- 
divisions, together vdth the two anomalies, 
Deism and Atheism, will be the object of the 
following work ; and, for the sake of distinc- 
tion, each system, denomination, sect or 
party, will be considered, as far as the sub- 
ject will admit, in the following order : — 

1 . Definition of the Name, or Names. 

2. Rise, Progress, History, and Remark- 
able iEras. 

3. Distinguishing Doctrines, or Tenets. 

4. Worship, Rites, and Ceremonies. 

5. Church Government, and Discipline. 

6. Sects. 

7. Eminent Men, Authors pro et contra. 
Countries wlierein found. Numbers, §c. 

8. Miscellaneous Remarks. 

J\rote. Some of Uiese heads will frequently be enlarged 
upon, and others wholly omitted, as occasion may require. 



Names and Language. — ^Judaism is the 
religion of the Jews, a term which was at first the 
appropriate denomination of the descendants of 
Judah, but soon included under it the Benjamites, 
who joined themselves to the tribe of Judah on the 
revolt of the other ten tribes from the house of 
David. After the Babylonish captivit}^, when 
many individuals of these ten tribes returned 
with the men of Judah and Benjamin to rebuild 
Jerusalem, the same term was made to include 
them also; or rather, was then extended to aU 
the descendants of Israel, who retained the Jew- 
ish religion, whether they belonged to the txvo^ 
or to the ten tribes, v/hether they returned to Ju- 
dea or not. From hence not only all the Israel- 
ites of future times ha\ e been called Jews ; but 
farther, all the descendants of Jacob are so called 
by us at present from the very beginning of their 

VOL. I. E 


histons and we speak of their original dispen- 
sation, as the Jewish dispensation. From Jose- 
phus, ho\\ e\'er, it would appear, that the name of 
Jews ^\'as but seldom used for the ancient people 
of God, either collectively, or otherwise, till after 
the return from the 70 years captivity at Baby- 
lon.* Till then they were called Children of 
Israel, or Israelites, from Israel, or Jacob, the son 
of Isaac, and grandson of Abraliam, the founder 
of tlie nation. 

They were likewise called Hebrews, from He- 
ber, one of the progenitors of that patriarch, and 
of the fourth generation from Noali.f Nor did 

* But that it was sometimes so used, is plain from Jere- 
miah, who uses that name in a general sense about the 
time of the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, 
long before the period spoken of by Joseplius. And, in- 
deed, as the descendants of Judah were the predominant 
part of all Jarob's progeny, and as they were in possession 
of the nu tropolis, (viz. Jerusalem) and the seat of the tem- 
ple of the Lord, it is no wonder that their denomination 
should readily be applied to the whole nation and profes- 
sors of the same form of religion. 

t The general custom of naming the people after the 
head of the family, and " the division of the earth" which 
is said to have taken place in the days of Heber's two sons, 
Peleg '^nd Joktan, (Gen. x. 25.) seem to render it more 
prohijble, that the name of Hebiew was derived from the 
patriarch Heber, than from ti>e circumstance of Abraham's 
fiaasing over the river Euphrates; yet this last is the opi- 
nion of some Jt wish authors, who conceive, ihat tlas de- 
nomination does not derive from Noah's descend, nt of 
that name, for to them it appears strange to affix £derj for 


they then only lose the name of Hebrews, but 
also the Hebrew language, which is allo\\ed by 
many to have been the first spoken by man.^- Hav- 
ing partly, though perhaps involuntarily, adopted 
the language of the ]Deople among M'hom they 
dwelt, the pure Hebrew was thereby changed 
into a compound of Chaldee and Hehreiv^ which 
is now kno\^^^ by the name of Syriac^ and which, 
tinder the name of Hebrew, the modem Jews 
leani at school as we do the Latin and the Greek. f 
The characters also were changed ; those now 
in use are generally believed to be the Chaldaic, 
then introduced by Ezra. The old Hebrew cha- 
racters were those of the Phoenicians, now called 
the Samaritan^ because the Samaritan Pentateuch 
is WTitten in them. 

the source of a generical name, in preference to Shem or 
Arplijxad. They rather ascribe the" name to the circum- 
stance of Abraham's coming orij^inally from "iDj; Eber, 
i. e. the otiier side of the river which he crossed in com- 
ing from Haran ; and observe, that we never meet with any 
designation of himself or family thereby previous thereto. 

*' On the other hand, some doubt whether we have any 
remains of the primitive l.nguage of men, and are inclined 
to leave it in uncertuinty, as the Scriptures are silent on 
the snbject. Sir William Jones is of opinion that it is en- 
tirely lobt; i'nd traces all the languages now in the world 
from the Hindoo, the Syriac, and the Tartarian, as their 
three roots. 

t I am aware that this opinion is warmly controverted 
by tl-.e Jews, who, though they admit that the use of pure 
Hebrew was lost in a very considerable degree during the 
Babylonish captivity previous to Ezra, that is to say, as a 
living hnguat^e, yet insist, that the Bible is the only source 
©f modern Hebrew. 


In our Saviour's time, the language spoken by 
the Jews ^^ as mixed and made up of the dialects and 
idioms of the several nations that surrounded them, 
particularly of the Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ara- 
bians : in this he delivered all his instructions, and 
held all his discourses. 

The letter written by the German Jews resid- 
ing in England to their foreign brethren, recom- 
mending Dr. Kennicott to tlieir protection and 
assistance' in his Biblical pursuits, and published 
by him in his " Dissertatio Generalis^^^ (p. 66.) 
is a curious specimen of the language of modem 
Jews, when they attempt to express modem, and, 
in respect to them, foreign ideas, in the Hebrew 
language. They look upon the points as an in- 
dispensible pai't of the Hebrew : and, with regard 
to their pronunciation of it, " they differ so much 
among themselves, that the German Jews can 
scarcely be understood by the Italians and Levan- 
tines; but there are none of them that speak more 
clearly and agreeably to the rules of grammar than 
the Italians^ * 

Rise, Progress, and History. — Whei% 
soon after the flood, almost all nations had already 
sunk into the grossest idolatry, it pleased God 
to call Abraham, a person of eminence, but 

* Leo of Modena's History of the Present Jews through- 
out the Worlds p. 66; but his translator, Mr. Ockley, con- 
ceives, that his author is prejudiced in favour of hjs coun- 
trymen, and observes, that the pronunciation of the Spanish 
Jews is allowed to be the best. 


then probably an idolater, that with him, and his 
posterity, the knowledge of the one ti-ue God, and 
of true religion, should be preserved in the world. 
Him God called from Haran into Canaan, where, 
in token of the promises then made him, he ap- 
pointed circumcision, and commanded him and 
all his sons to be circumcised in all generations. 
With Abraham then, Judaism may, in some sense, 
be said to have begim; but it was not till the 
giving of the law on Mount Sinai, that the Jewish 
economy was established, and that to his posterity 
was committed a dispensation which ^^^as to dis- 
tinguish them, ever after, from every other people 
upon earth. 

Their history, both before and during their set- 
tlement in Canaan, the land of promise, is well 
known, or may be found in the Old Testament, 
and the ■wTitings of Josephus, their coimtiyman 
and historian, who was present at the last siege 
of their city.* The most remarkable periods in 
it are, — the call of Abraham ; — the giving of the 
law by Moses ; — theii- establishment in Canaan 
under Joshua, the successor of Moses ; — the 
building of the temple by Solomon ; — the division 

* Josephus was a native of Jerusalem, descended from the 
kings of Judah, and born of parents belonging to the priest- 
hood ; and he is generally allowed to be an historian of the 
• greatest care, and most rigid veracity, insomuch that the 
learned Joseph Scaliger, gives him this character : " Dili- 
gentissimus «*< ^iAaA«8«raT0f omnium Scrifitorum Josephus." 
— Prolegom. ad Opus de Emendat. Tempor. p. 16. Ed. 
Genev. 1629. 


of the nation into the t.vo kingdoms of Judah and 
Israel, in tlie reign of Rehoboam ; — their seventy 
years captivity in Babylon; — their return under 
Zerubbabel; — their persecution and murder of 
Jesus Clu'ist, whom Christians belie^'e to be the 
Messiah, the Lord of Glory ; — and, in conse- 
quence of this, the destruction of their cit)^ and 
temple by the Emperor Titus, A. D. 70. From 
that time, to the present day, they ha\ e been with- 
out a common country, — without a temple, — with- 
out a sacrifice, — without a prophet, — without a 
common leader, or protector, — and, as was pre- 
dicted respecting them, have ever been " an asto- 
nishment, a proverb, and a by-word,'' among all 
nations whither the Lord hath scattered them. 
They are spoken of by several heathen authors, as 
Diodorus Siculus, Justin, and Tacitus, ^vhose nar- 
ratives respecting them, though a mixture of truth 
and falsehood, serve not a little to confirm the Mo- 
saic history.* 

The miseries Avhich they sustained from fa- 
mine, from pestilence, from the assaults of the 
Romans, and from the implacable fury of con- 
tending parties among themselves, during the 
last siege of their city, far surpass, in horror, 
ever}" account of any other siege in the records 
of the world, f The city was taken, burned to 

* Diod. Sicul. lib. i. ; Justin, lib. 36, c. 2.; Tacit. Hist, 
lib. V. 

t See ;i very strikinj: siin»mary of the event"* of those " days 
of vengeance," and of the completion of every particular in 

THE JEWS. * 39 

the gi'ound, and razed from its foundations. Eleven 
hundred thousand JeM'S perished during the siege ; 
and, of ninety-seven thousand captives, some were 
reserved to grace the triumplial return of Titus to 
Rome, and the rest dispersed as slaves, or as cri- 
minals, throughout the empire. A small portion, 
indeed, were permitted to remain and establish 
themselves in Judea, who, by degrees, formed 
themselves into a regular system of government, 
or rather subordination, connected with the various 
bodies of Jews dispersed throughout the world. 
B;it a subsequent revolt, in the reign of Adiian, 
A. D. 134, earned on with the most furious out- 
rages by the Jews, great numbers of whom had 
by tliat time collected in their native land, was 
followed by the destruction of their leader Bar- 
ehochba, who averred himself to be tlie Messiah, 
— by the slaughter of more than five hundred 
thousand of his adherents, — by the sale of addi- 
tional multitudes, — and by the expulsion of almost 
the Avhole nation from Judea. — To give a detailed 
nan-ative of their situation, as far as it has been 
ascertained, in the prmcipal countries in which 
they have sojourned during theii- dispersion, would 
require a volume, or volumes, of itself. I shall 
notice only a few events, which are in themselves 
imp'Ortant, and ai'e also recorded by sufficient 
authorities. For more full information, recourse 

the prophecies of Clirist respecting the destruction of Je- 
ruuilem, in Archl)isliop Nevvcome's " Observations on our 
Lord's Conduct," 2d Jidit. 8vo. p. 203, &c. 


may be had to M. Basnage, a learned French re- 
fugee of the beginning of last century, who wrote 
their histor}'^ as a supplement and continuation of 
Josephus; and to the "Modem Universal His- 
tory," 8vo, vol. 13. See also David Ganz's 
" Tsemach Dav'id^ a meagi-e chronicle, but per- 
haps the best history written by a Jew since the 
time of Josephus. Unfortunately they have no 
historians but Josephus; and, except some very 
short and desultory notices of successive facts pre- 
served by different autliors, they have scarcely a 
chronology, D. Ganz's book, and Rabbi Zacut's 
" Sepher Juchsin^'^ excepted. 

During the continuance of the Roman empire, 
they experienced from different emperors varying 
degrees of oppression or forbearance ; and at some 
times indulged their inveteracy against the Chris- 
tians in tumultuous and sanguinary outrages; at 
others, endured many grievous cruelties from the 
spirit of bigotry and retaliation. From Julian, who 
equalled them in enmity towards the Christians, 
they received many marks of favour. His abortive 
endeavours to rebuild the temple and city of Jeru- 
salem are well known ; a terrible earthquake, and 
flames of fire issuing from the earth, killed the 
workmen, and scattered the materials.* 

* Dr. Jortin, speaking on this subject, says, that "all 
things considered, the story is as well attested as one can 
reasonably expect." — Remarks on Ecclesiastical History^ 
vol. 2. p. 213. edit. 1805. See p. 212,-224. 


They soon became known as divided into the 
Western and Eastern Jews. The Western were 
those who inhabited Egypt, Judea, Italy, and other 
parts of the Roman empire; — the Eastern were 
those who w^ere settled in Babylon, Chaldea, Persia, 
&c. The head of the Western Jew s was known 
by the name of Patriarch; the head of the Eastern 
Jews was called Prince of the Captivity. The 
office of Pati'iarch was abolished by the imperial 
laws about the year 429 ; from which time the wes- 
tern Jews were solely under the rule of the chiefs 
of their synagogues, whom they called Primates. 
The Princes of the Captivit}- had a longer and a 
more splendid sway. They resided at Babylon or 
at Bagdad, and exercised their authority over all 
the Jew s who were established there, or in the adja- 
cent country, or in Assyria, Chaldea, or Parthia; 
and they subsisted as late as the 12th century. 
About the year 1038 the Jews were expelled from 
Babylon, when some of the most learned of them 
passed into Africa, and thence into Spain, w here 
great bodies of diem setded, and soon after assisted 
the Saracens in their conquest of that kmgdom. 
Upon that event, an intimate connexion took place 
between the disciples of Moses and those of Mo- 
hammed, which was cemented by their common 
hatred of the Cliristians, and subsisted till their 
common expulsion. 

Of the state of the Jews during the middle ages, 
we have curious and interesting accounts by i?<?«- 
yamin o/* Twc/e/cA in Navarre, 2ivA Rabbi Patachiah; 

VOL. I. F 


two learned Jews who, in the 12th century, visited 
the principal cities of the East where the Jews had 
S}Tiagogues, and returned through Hungary, Ger- 
many, Italy, and France. The object of this jour- 
ney was to ascertain the situation of the Jewish 
people ; and a wish to magnify the numbers and the 
importance of their brethren is discernible in the 
writings of both ; and, for their extreme credulity, 
both are justly censured. But, after every reason- 
able deduction is made on these accounts, from the 
credibility of their narratives, miirh will remain to 
Interest even an intelligent and cautious reader. 

Benjamin scruples not to affirm, that he found at 
Bagdad the Prince of the Captivity^ lineally de- 
scended from David, and permitted by the Caliph 
to exercise rights of sovereignty over the Jews from 
Syria to Indostan. And indeed the modern Jews, 
notwithstanding they admit that this author is not 
much to be depended upon on account of his cre- 
dulity, yet seem to think, that he may nevertheless 
have asserted truth respecting the genealogy of the 
Prince of the Captivity ; for, they say, it is knoA\Ti 
as a certainty, that the last Primate^ who died A. 
D. 1038, named Rah Hay Goan^ was indubitably 
descended from king David ; and that, prior to that 
period, no one was installed as Prince unless of that 

The existence of a succession of these imaginary 
potentates from the destruction of Jerusalem by the 
Romans, the Jews have ever been strenuous in 


maintaining, partly to aggrandise the glory of their 
nation, and partly to depri^-e Christians of the bene- 
fit of the argument furnished by the prophecy of Ja- 
cob, concerning the termmation of the Jewish polity 
and independence soon after the coming of the 

In most countries where they have sojourned, 
the Jews have been most cruelly treated; and have 
been banished, at different times, from France, from 
Germany, from Spain, from Bohemia, and from 
Hungary. We have particular accounts of the mise- 
ries of those who were banished from the last of 
these kingdoms. In England their sentence of exile 
was remitted, and they were invited back by Wil- 
liam the Conqueror;* they were again banished in 
the reign of Edward I., but were permitted to return 
by Oliver Cromwell, since which time repeated at- 
tempts have been made to naturalize them, but in 

When their naturalization was last proposed, in 
1753, Dean Tucker wrote in favour of the measure, 
and the bishops did not oppose it, doubtless, not 
foreseeing that any injury could have arisen from 
the indulgence, either to the state or to the people, 
whilst some of this unbelieving race might have 

* Since writing the above, I have seen Anglia Judaicoy 
by Dr. Tovey, who has taken great pains to search after the 
antiquities of the Jews in England, contends for the exist- 
ence of Jews there coeval with Julius Caesar, and says no- 
thing of any banishment of them prior to that of Edward I- 


thereby been reclaimed ; and aware that it could 
not be interpreted as opposing the voice of any pro- 
phecy of Scripture respecting them, as no human 
declaration, no act of any nation, however powerful, 
can frustrate the completion of the will of the Al- 
mighty. I trust, therefore, that the time is not far 
distant, when the increasing liberality of public 
opinion will vouchsafe them this privilege, and raise 
them to the rank of denizens in Britain. 

The predictions concerning them were remarka- 
ble ; and the calamities that have come upon them, 
are the greatest the world has ever seen. At the 
foresight of these calamities our Saviour wept ; and 
it is almost impossible for persons of any humanit)', 
or feeling, to read the accounts without being affect- 
ed; — rapme and murder, famine and pestilence, 
within; lire and SA\'ord, and all the terrors of war, 
without! Their history, as given by M. Basnage, 
presents a scene of suffering and persecution un- 
paralleled in the annals of the world. Wherever 
they have been established, they necessarily have 
bom their share of the evils of the age in which they 
lived, and the country in which they resided. But, 
besides their common share in the sufferings of so- 
ciety, they have undergone a series of horrid iuid 
unutterable calamities, which no other description 
of men have experienced in any age, or any country. 

Kings have often employed the severity of edicts, 
and the hand of executioners to ruin them. The 
seditious multitudes, by murders and massacres, 


have committed outrages against them, if possible, 
still more violent and tragical. Princes and peo- 
ple. Pagans, Mohammedans, and Christians, dis- 
agi'eeing in so many things, have united in the 
design of exterminating the Jews, and ha\'e not 
been able to succeed. The bush of Moscs^ sur- 
rounded with flames, ever bums, and is never con- 
sumed. And what heinous sin was it that could 
be the cause of such heavy judgments ? Can any 
other be assigned, than \\'hat the Scripture assigns : 
(1 Thess. ii. 15, 16.) " They both killed the Lord 
Jesus and their omti prophets, and persecuted the 
apostles," and so filled up their sins, and \vTath 
came upon them to the uttermost ? It is hardly 
possible to consider the nature and extent of their 
sufferings, and not conclude the Jews' own im- 
precation to be singularly fulfilled upon them.* 
"What have ye done, O ungrateful men!'' ex- 
claims Bossuet, "slaves in every country, and 
under every prince, still ye serve not strange gods. 
Why then has God, who chose you, forgotten 
you ? Where are his ancient mercies ? What 
crime, what atrocity more heinous than idolatry, 
has brought on you a punishment, that even your 
repeated idolati-ies did not bring upon you ? Ye 
are silent ! ye see not what makes your God thus 
inexorable ! Then recollect the words of your 
fathers : — ' Let his blood be on us, and on our 
children ; we will have no other king than Csesar.' 
Be it so : the Messiah shall not be your king, 

* St. Mauh. xxvii. 25. 


—continue slaves of Cassar, slaves of the sove- 
reigns of the earth, till the Chui-ch shall be filled 
with the Gentiles ! Then only shall Israel be 
saved." But while we reverence, in their suffer- 
ings and calamities, the prophecies which foretold 
fhem, so long before they happened ; while, in hum- 
ble silence and submission, we adore the unsearch- 
able judgments of God, who thus ten*ibly visits the 
sins of the fathers on their children, we shall find, 
that, in judging between them and their persecu- 
tors, it is a justice due to them from us to acknow- 
ledge, that, if on some occasions they may be 
thought to have deserved their misfortunes by their 
private vices or public crimes, it has much oftener 
happened, that they have been the innocent victims 
of avarice, rage, or mistaken zeal. 

Happily for them, however, this oppressed people 
are no longer the objects of that contempt and of 
those debasing injuries, to which, formerly, they 
\\ ere perpetually subject, I am not aware that they 
have CA er formed a constituent part of any political 
body, since their final dispersion ; nor have they been 
suffered to hold lands, at least to any extent, or in 
much security, — till of late, when, notwithstandbig 
the virulence shewn against them by a popular au- 
thor on the continent,* they were admitted to the 
rank of citizens in France and Italy ; and in this 

* *' Nous ne purlons qu' avec horreur de la Saint Barthe- 
lemi: mais Icb Juifs ont fete deux cents fois victimes de 
scenes pins tragiques; et quels etoientlesmeurtriers?" Es- 
sai Sur La Regeneration des Juifs, par M. Gregoire, p. 13. 


coun«^% the change of public sentiment with re- 
spect to them is evident, in their now being allow- 
ed to hold lands, and in the public exhibition of 
their character on the stage. Shakspeare's Jew 
is represented as cruel and avaricious, and endow- 
ed with all the strong prejudices of his nation ; " I 
hate him, for he is a Christian :" whereas Cumber- 
land's Jew is humane and benevolent ; character- 
istic indeed in his manners, but honest, liberal, and 
friendly to persons of all denominations. 

Besides the works already referred to on the his- 
tory of the Jews, recourse may be had to Bishop 
Newton on the Prophecies, and to the 7th volume 
of the " Spectator," No. 495, where Mr. Addison 
considers the Jews in three views : 1st, With re- 
gard to their numbers ; 2dly, Their dispersion ; 
and, 3dly, Their adherence to their religion : and 
then endeavours to shew, 1st, What wa^wrc/ rea- 
sons; and, 2dly, What providential reasons may 
be assigned for these three remarkable particulars. 
On the last of these, viz. the providential reasons, 
he says, — " their number furnishes us with a suffi- 
cient cloud of witnesses, that attest the ti^uth of the 
Old Testament ; their dispersion spreads these wit- 
nesses through all parts of the world; and their 
adherence to their religion makes their testimony 

The history of this people certainly forms a 
striking evidence of the truth of divine revelation. 
They are a living and perpetual miracle ; continu- 


ing to subsist as a distinct and peculiar race, for 
upwards of three thousand years, and even in the 
midst of other nations ; — ^flo\^ ing forward in a full 
and continued stream, like the waters of the Rhone, 
without mixing with the waves of the expansive 
lake through which the passage lies to the ocean of 

Distinguishing Tenets. — The Mosaic dis- 
pensation consisted of three parts : the religious faith 
and ^^'orship of the Jews, — their civil polity, — and 
precepts for the regulation of their moral conduct. 
Their civil government was of divine institution as 
well as their sacred polity; and, on all important oc- 
casions, their public affairs were conducted by the 
Deity himself, or by persons bearing his commission. 

The tenets of the Jews, so long as they retained 
their national existence, are well known, or ought 
to be knowTi, by all those that profess to be Chris- 
tians. With respect to those of the more modem 
Jews, Moses Maimonides,* an Egyptian, and one 
of the most illustrious of their rabbies, drew up for 
them, in the 11th century, the following confession 

* Otherwise called the great Rambam, i. e. Rabbi Moses 
Ben Maitnon; the word Rarnbam, in Hebrew, being an ab- 
breviation made up of the initials of his name. Such ab- 
breviations are very common among ihe Jews, especially 
in the names of their authors. His confession, as here co- 
pied from his exposition of the Mishna., Chap. Helech, ought 
not to be viewed as a new system, but merely as a new clas- 
sification of old and received articles of belief. 


t>f faith, which all Jews at this day admit. It con- 
sists only of these thirteen articles : and it is remark- 
able that two of them have respect to Moses ; the 
7th affirming the authenticity^ and the 8th the ge- 
7iidneness, of his books. 

1. I believe, with a true and perfect faith, that God 
is the creator (whose name be blessed), gover- 
nor, and maker of all creatures ; and that he hath 
WTought all diings, worketh, and shall \vork, for 

2. I believe, \\\\h perfect faith, that the Creator 
(whose name be blessed) is one; and that such ft 
an unit}' as in him can be found in none other j 

and that he alone hath been our God, is, and for 
ever shall be. 
'3,fi believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator 

(whose name be blessed) is not corporeal, not to ^i 
be comprehended with any bodily properties ; 
and that there is no bodily essence that can be 
likened unto him.^ 

4. I believe, with a perfect faith, the Creator 
(whose name be blessed) to be the first and the 
last, that nothing was before him, and that he 
shall abide the last for ever. 

5. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator 
(whose name be blessed) is to be worshipped, 
and none else. 

6. I believe, with a perfect faith, that all the words 
of the prophets are ti"ue. 

7. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the prophe- 
cies of Moses (our master, may he rest in peace) 

VOL. I. G 


I'lere true ; that he was the father and chief of 
all wise men that lived before him, or ever shall 
live after him. 

8. I believe, with a perfect faith, that all the law,* 
which at this day is found in our hands, was de- 
livered by God himself to our master Moses, 
(God's peace be with him). 

9. I believe with a perfect faith, that the same law 
is never to be changed, nor any other to be given 
us of God (whose name be blessed). 

10. I believe, he. that God (whose name be bless- 
ed) understandeth all the a\ orks and thoughts of 
men, as it is A\Titten in the prophets ; he fashion- 
eth their hearts alike ; he understandeth all their 

11. I believe, &c. that God will recompense good 
to them that keep his commandments, and will 
punish them Avho transgress them. 

12. I believe, &c. that the Messiah is yet to come ; 

* i. e. All the traditions as well as the written law ; for, 
in Leo of Modena's Histoiy, p. 238. this article is thus 
stated: "That the laws which Moses has left, were all of 
them dictated by God, and that Moses put not one syllable 
of himself; and also, that the explication of these precepts 
which they hold by tradition, came all out of the mouth of 
God, to Moses." So likewise in Anglia JudaicUy p. 307. 

Hence the oral law is held equally sacred with the Scri/i- 
tural law, or five books of Moses, by the rabbinical Jews, 
■who profess to have a regular chain of traditionists, hand- 
ed down to them until Rabbi Jehuda Hakkodesh, who com- 
mitted these traditions to paper, and systematised them in 
a work, which be called Minima. 


and although he retard his coming, yet I will 
wait for him till he come. 
13. I believe, &c. that the dead shall be restored to 
life, when it shall seem fit unto God, the creator, 
(whose name be blessed, and memory celebrated 
world without end. Amen). 

Of these articles, the 12th, or the expectation of 
the promised Messiah, is the leading tenet and dis- 
tinguishing feature of the religion of the modem 
Jews ; and in tliis they differ widely from Christians, 
who believe tliat the Messiah is already come, and 
that in Christ Jesus all the Jewish prophecies re- 
specting him are accomplished. 

Infatuated, howe\^er, with the idea of a temporal 
Messiah and deliverer, who is to subdue the world, 
and reinstate them in their own land, the Jews still 
wait for his appearance ; but they have fixed neither 
the place whence, nor the time when, he is to come : 
for though many have endeavoured to calculate 
upon the seventy weeks of Daniel, they discourage 
all attempts this way, and deem them improper, 
since a miscalculation may lead to shake the faith 
of the ignorant; and Maimonides had an eye to 
this in the composition of this same article, *■' and 
although he retard his coming," &c. 

Finding it difficult to evade the force of some 
texts in Isaiah, &c. which speak of a suffering Mes- 
siah, some have had recourse to the idea of two 
Messiahs, who are to succeed each other j Men Jo- 


sephy of the ti'ibe of Ephralm, in a state of humilk- 
ticfli and suiFering; the other Beii David, of the 
tribe of Judah, in a state of glory, magnificence, 
and power. This, however, I am told, is not a 
settled belief, but an opinion set forth in a book of 
Medrash or commentary. And yet something very 
like it seems to have been the opinion of the Rab- 
bins,* for Abarbanel observes, that although v. hen 
they first go up from the captivity, they \vill " ap- 
point themselves one head," (Hosea, i. 11.) who, 
he says, is the person called by the Rabbins, Mes- 
siah Ben Joseph; as he will be slain m battle, Israel 
will then seek David their king ; a rod from the 
stem of Jesse, whom God will make choice of, for 
to reign over them.f 

As to the character and mission of their Mes- 
siah, he is to be of the ti'ibe of Judah, the lineal 
descendant of David, and called by his name, and 
is to be endowed a\ ith the spirit of prophecy : 
and his " especial mission is, to restore the dis- 
persed sheep of Israel, plant them safely in their 
own land, and subdue their enemies ; and there- 

* Robbies is perhaps the proper phiral of Rabbi; which 
is the modern title, but when we are speaking of the an- 
cient Misjinical and Talmudical doctors, &c. the term Rab- 
bins is then more properly used. 

t See Abdrb. in Hosea, iii. 5. Mr. Levi says, that "this 
opinion of the Ra bins, cr>ncerning tlie death of this per- 
sonage, was whut gave rise to the Christian system of a 
suffering Messiah ; as the prophecies of the Old Testa- 
ment do iiot inculcate any such pi lociplc whatever." Dis- 
sert, on the Prophecies, Vol. III. p. 100. Note. Credat 
Judxus ! 


by bring the whole world to the knowledge of the 
one true God.'** 

His coming and their restoration have not yet ta- 
ken place, " because they are still unworthy of be- 
ing redeemed, and have not repented, or have not 
yet received the full measure of their punishment ;" 
at the same time, they insist that their redemption 
is not conditional, but will take place at the appomt- 
ed time, though they should not repent; that God 
will not redeem and restore them for any merit of 
theirs, (for there will, doubtless, even then be many 
wicked and imbelievers among them,) but for his 
name's sake — "for the sake of the few righteous, 
and also in consideration of what they will be after 
their redemption, when they will all be good and 
righteous: those therefore, that are righteous in 
captivit}', ^^■ill happily attain to the redemption ; but 
those that are wicked, will be destroyed in the wars 
and troubles that will take place before their final 
restoration ;"t for the vengeance which God will 

* Levi's Dissertations, Vol. I. p. 282. 

t Levi's Dissert. Vol. II. p. 57. " They will no more 
follow their irregular desires, and their cupidity ; for the 
grejt and stupendous miracles, that will then be performed 
in their sight, will make such a lasting impression on them, 
as entirely to destroy their evil imagin.ttion, and incline 
them to all good ; so that they will then be in tlie same 
state that Adam was in before his fall." P. 279. Thus Mr. 
Levi interprets Ezek. xxxvi. v. 26. How much greater 
then and more stupendous must these miracles be, than 
those wrought for them in Egypt and at the Red Seii, which 
made so small an impression, and were so soon forgotten ! 


take on their enemies is to precede their redemp- 

They beheve that Judea will finally be the seat of 
those wars which will precede their redemption ; 
and that, after due vengeance taken on the nations 
for the cruelties exercised on the people of God, 
during this long and deplorable captivity, they will 
terminate in the complete subjection of all nations 
to the power of the Messiah, and in the introduc- 
tion of universal peace and happiness that shall ne- 
\er more be interrupted. 

Although they profess to know nothing for cer- 
tain, as to the real place of abode, or the present 
state, of the ten tribes, yet they believe that they 
are lost only in name, and that they shall be restored 
together with Judah and Benjamin; and likewise 
that all those Jews that have embraced Christianity 
or Mahommedism, shall then return to tlie religion 
of their fathers ;* that tlieir nation thus restored and 

* Mr. Levi, when speaking of those Jews, in all a^es, 
who have come over to Cliristianiiy, observes, that they 
have not acted voluntarily, but by compulsion, as in Spain 
and Portugal, or from interested motives, as there and 
elsewhere ; that notwithstanding they *' seemed to aposta- 
tise, and pretended to embiace Christianity; yet, in their 
hearts, they secretly adhered to the true faith, and law of 
Moses ; and such are at this day called among us D'DUK 
The comfielled : because they act by conipu'.sion ; (or as soon 
»s they can by any means escape from the Popish countries, 
they instantly return to Judaism." Dissertations, Vol. II. 
p. 115. "I am free to assert," says he, p. 1 17, "that there 


united, shall never again go into captivity, nor ever 
be in subjection to any power; but on the contrary, 
that the diflferent nations of the world shall thence- 
forvv^ard be subject to them. Judea will then become 
fruitful as fonnerly ; Jerusalem will be built on its 
ancient ground plot," and the real descendants of 
the priests and Levites will be reinstated into their 
respective offices, although they may have been 
forced to apostatise.* Then likewise will be re- 
is scarcely an instance of a Jew ever having embraced 
Christianity (n the pure principles of rehgion, but merely 
from interested motives." This assertion is doubtless more 
candid than honourable to his nation, or, I suspect, con- 
sistent with fact ; for, to mention only one instance, Mr. 
Levi will, I am persuaded, do an acceptable service to 
every infidel, if he will assign the interestt d motives that 
could have induced St. Paul to embrace Chri-jtianity. 

But that there have long been muliitades of dissembling 
Jews, is remarked by others. M. Basnage observes, that 
in Spain and Portugal they can scarcely distinguish between 
them and real Christians; that the religion of the Jews 

" still subsists in the persons of dissemblers in a remote 

posterity," and that near relations of good familiesj of Spain 

and Portugal, "and even Fram iscan Monks, Dominicans, 

and Jesuits," were found in tlie synagogue at Amsterdam, 

who went there " to do penance for the crime they have 

committed in dissembling 1" 

* Should it be asked how it shall be known, that they 
are thus descended ? Mr. Le ^ i answers, " By means of the 
spirit of propiiecy, which will then be restored to the na- 
tion ; for then the tribe of Levi will be distinguished in a 
particular manner, as the prophet Malachi said," chap. iii. 
V. 3. Dissertations, Vol. IL p. 87. 

It is generally admitted, that the distinction of tribes is 
lost ; yet some Jews seem to be of opinion, that the tribe 


stored, the spirit of prophecy, the ark and cheru- 
bim, fire from heaven, &c. the same as their fathers 
enjoyed in tlie tabernacle in the wilderness, and in 
Solomon's temple. And, in fine, then will idolatry 
" wholly cease in the earth, and all men will ac- 
knowledge the unity of God, and his kingdom, 
agreeable to what Zechariah said, chap. xiv. v. 9."* 

Such are the expectations of the Jews, in regard 
to the Messiah and his kingdom, which they still 
avow to be, not of a spiritual, but of a temporal na- 
ture. But Mr. Levi complains, that there are two 
different parties in the nation, who slight the pro- 
phecies, which speak of their future restoration, and 
laugh at the idea of a Messiah coming to redeem 
them. The one consists of such as call themselves 
philosophers; enlightened men, who "are perfect 
Deists, not believing a syllable of revelation; and, 
not ascribing our sufferings to the immediate provi- 
dence of God, but to a concatenation of causes, in a 
political light." The other party are such, "as -either 
through the length of the captivity, or the easy cir- 

of Levi can even now be in some measure distinguished, 
howe\er incorrect such distinction may prove to be intrin- 

* Levi's Dissertations, Vol. IIL p. 228 " All those that 
shall he restored, shall serve God toi^ether in unity: for 
then, there s'lall be no separation of tlie tribes; no division 
of the kinvjdom ; and no calves in Dan and Bethel; and on 
account of the irreat and stupendous miracles which will 
then be wrought by God for tlie deliverance of the nation, 
all the nations will sanctify him, as a great and holy God." 
Vol. II. p. 248. Notes. 


cumstances that they are in; and the splendid and 
voluptuous manner, in which they are able to live: 
neither look for, nor desii'e a restoration,"* 

The Jewish economy, as contained in the Penta- 
teuch, or five books of Moses, is so much directed 
to temporal rewards and punishments, that it has 
been made a question by some, whether the Jews 
had an}' knowledge of a future state, under the Mo- 
saic dispensation. Bishop Warburton has taken 
up the negative side of the question, and defended 
it with vast erudition, in his " Divine Legation of 
Mos€s.''^-\ Dr. Russel, in his '•'- Ancient Europe ^^ 
seems to adopt the same doctrine with his lordship, 

* Dissertations, Vol. II. p. 237, 9. — Both these parties 
"nevertheless, adhere to the body of the nation, and out- 
wardly conform to the Jewish rites . they thus remain 
Jews ; are denominated God's people, the same as the true 
believers of the nuiion ; and in like manner, bear God's 
covenant in the flesh." " Even those of the nation that 
have not the least grain of religion in them, wouhi yet be 
highly offended at being called a Christian^ or a Gentile., or 
an jifiontate ." P. 243, 5. This is no doubt wonderful, and 
may be adduced as a proof of the truth of propliecy, and 
that the Jews are held together by an invisible and almighty 

t See in particular his Lordship's Dedication to the 
Jews, Yu\. II. of Div. Leg. and Book 5. Sect. 5. where he 
attempts to prove his hypothesis. It is notwithstanding ad- 
mitted by him, that the doctrine of a future state became a 
nationril dociiine among the Jews about 150 yens before 
Christ; perhaps to account for the distinguishing tenet of 
the Sadvlucees. 

VGL. I. H 


and thus accounts for it. " Moses was leading an 
obstinate people through many dangers and diffi- 
culties, to the country promised tliem by the Lord ; 
and any prospect of a happy state, beyond the 
grave, might have relaxed their endeavours, for at- 
taining their earthly Canaan.'''' But to this argument 
little weight will be alloAved by all those that daily 
observe multitudes of professing Christians so eager 
in adding house to house and field to field, and in 
accumulating earthly treasure, as if this world were 
never to have an end, or the next world were never 
to have a beginning. Bishop Warburton's doctrine 
has, however, been controverted by several distin- 
guished authors, as Bishop Sherlock, Drs. Sykes, 
Jortin, Priestley, Mr. Peters, &cc.* The Jews are 
likewise decidedly against it, as is evinced by the 
above creed, and by the tenor of all their authors : 
they, howcAcr, refer us in particular to Manasseh 
Ben Israel's work, called Nishmas Chayim. They 
tell us that the Jews always did, and still do 
believe in a future state, &:c. : nay, Mr. Levi be- 
lieves not only that " Moses inculcated the docti-rne 
of a future state in his dispensation," but likewise 
that the " Jews were certainly well acquainted with 
the doctrine of the resurrection in the days of 

* See in particular Dr. Priestley's " Enquiry into the 
knoivledge of the Ancie7it Hebrews, co7tcerning a future 
state i" a work which, in the opinion of sou e, is the most 
unexceptionable of all the doctor's theological publica- 


Isaiah, who hv ed almost eight hundred years before 
the incarnation."* 

It is a mistake to suppose diat the Jews are an 
intolerant people. They hold all men obliged to 
obser\e what are called the JVoachides^ or seven 
precepts of the sons of Noah; which are, 1. Not to 
commit idolatiy: 2. Not to blaspheme: 3. To ap- 
point and constitute just and upright judges, that 
justice may be maintained, and impartially admi- 
nistered to all : 4. Not to commit incest, nor adul- 
tery : 5. Not to kill, nor hurt our neighbours : 6. 

* Letters to Dr. Priestley, p. 89. and Dissertations on 
the Prophecies, Vol. I. p. 184 By the resurrection, how- 
ever, they believe that two great ends are to be effected, 
the one particular, and the other general. " That which 
is particular, is for the Jews; and the other, which is ge- 
neral, is for them, and all the other nations. The first 
great end, which I call a particular one, as it is for the 
Jewish nation only, is to effect — that those who have been 
persecuted and slain, during this long and dreadful capti- 
vity, for adhering to the true faith, may enjoy the salvation 
of the Lord, according to what the prophet says (Isaiah, 
xxvi. 19; and chap. Ixvi. 10. Sec.) The second great end, 
which I call a general one, because it affects all mankind, 
whether Jews, Gentiles, or Christians, is to bring all na- 
tions to the knowledge of the true God, and to effect that 
the firm belief of his unity may be so unalterably fixed in 
their hearts, as that they may attain the end for which they 
were created, to honour and glorify God, as the prophet 
observes," (Isaiah, xliii. 7.) Levi's Dissertations, Vol. I. 
p. 193, &c. Mr. Levi seems to be of the same opinion 
with Abarbanel, that " the future reward, or punishment, 
is for the soul only, not for the body." 


Not to rob, steal, nor deceive : 7. Not to eat a 
member of any living creature. But it is the una- 
nimous opinion of their Rabbins, that the Srnaitic 
covenant, or law of Moses, is obligator)'^ on those 
of their nation only. They say it Avas a covenant 
between God and the Jews ; that the Jews therefore 
are bound to the performance of it, but tliat it is 
not binding on the rest of mankind; for, if they do 
but keep the law of nature, i. e. " the seven pre- 
cepts of the sons of Noah, ^ve maintain, that they 
thereby perfomi all that God requires of them, and 
will certainly by this service, render themselves ac- 
ceptable to him, and be partakers of eternal life."* 

The conquered nations, such as the Gibeonites, 
Cuthites, &c. AA'ho accepted Judaism by compul- 
sion, and not only held the seven precepts of 
Noah, but also submitted to circumcision, were 
received and called Proselytes from fear^\ but 
inteninarriage with them was not allowed ; where- 
as those v;\\o took upon them the Aihole of the 
Mosaic dispensation, were called Proselytes of 
justice^ or righteousness^ and being initiated by 
ablution and circumcision, \\ere thenceforth ad- 

* Levi's Letters to Dr. Priestley, p. 16. 17. and Maimo- 
nides on Repentance^ chap. 3. 

t Oi more correctly from lions; for this term arose from 
a hor' e of wanderers who begged to be received into an 
established city, with a view to escape some lions of the 
desert. Strangers of the Gate were not proselytes, as has 
been supposed, nor w<is sacrifice a part of the ceremony of 
proselytism, but a subsequent acknowledgment. 


mitted to all the rites, ceremonies, and privileges, 
that were enjoyed by the natural Jews, except that 
some nations were excluded from interman^iages for 
ever, and others till after the third generation, &.c. * 

Intermarriages with other nations are still strictly 
prohibited, but every Jew is obliged to marr}', and 
the proper time assigned by the Rabbins for enter- 
ing into the marriage state, is the age of eighteen. 
*' A man that li^'es single till twenty, is looked 
upon as a profligate, and an uncle may marry his 
niece, but an aunt may not marry her nephew." 
Girls are often man'ied, or betrothed, under ten 
years of age, and \a hen twelve years and a day old, 
women ai'e declared of age. f 

* Deut. chap, xxiii. v. 4. 5, 9, and 10. No Gentiles 
were permitted to dwell within their gates, unless they 
renounced idolatry.^ and observed the seven precepts of 
Noah ; and althouj^h th»y did not hold it to be necessary 
for such as were not of their nation to become Proselytes 
of righteousness, or even to submit to circumcision, yet 
they never refused any that freely offered, but received all 
that were willing to profess their religion. For a particu- 
lar account of both sorts of Proselytes, see Maimonides in 
Yod Hachasoka. 

t Levi's Ceremonies of the Jews, p. 131, 148. In p. 
146. Mr. Levi gives the form of a bill of divorcement. 

Early marriages i;re encouraged chiefly in Poland; but 
there seeins to be no foundation for the assertion, that 
their grand m.otive in condemning telibacy, and encour- 
aging early marriages, is the hope that the Messiah may 
descend from them. They are obliL^ed to have, at least, 
ten men present at the celebration of every marriage, 
" othervyise it is null and void." 


For fear of commixture, they were likewise for- 
bidden to eat with other nations, and consequent- 
ly they could not keep company with them ; and 
this law has been observed by them, as stricdy as 
circumstances would admit, to the present day ; 
for, in general, their cattle are killed, and their 
meat prepared and dressed by their own people ; 
and cheese, in particular, must always be made 
under the superintendance of a Jew. * They eat 
no SA\'ine's flesh, nor of any beast that does not 
chew the cud, and part the hoof. They still keep 
holy the seventh day of the week, or our Satur- 
day, which is the Jewish Sabbath. 

The laws of the Jews, religious and moral, civil, 
political, and ritual ; i. e. a complete system of 
pure Judaism, is contained in the books of the Old 
Testament, and chiefly in the five books of Moses, 
their p^eat la\v-giver, w ho was raised up to deliver 
them from their bondage in Egypt, and to conduct 
them to the possession of Canaan, the promised 
land. Moses is universally allowed to be the most 
ancient historian now extant; he is the only au- 
thentic A\riter of what happened before, and for 
several ages after the flood ; and, it is a remarka- 
ble fact, that almost two-thirds of the inhabitants 
of the vv orld, at this day, revere his writings, and 
look upon him as divinely inspu^ed. 

* Their meat, butter, cheese, &c. when sent to market, 
are marked with a certain impression, by which the Jew- 
ish purchaser understands that they are pure, and prepar- 
ed or made by Jews. 


But for the system of the Rahbinists^ who have 
long been the most numerous party among the Jews, 
and who, in regard to doctrine, seem to be of " the 
sect of the Pharisees," recourse must be had also 
to their Mishna^ Gemaras, Tahnuds, and Targums. 

They beHeve that God delivered to Moses, while 
he abode on the mount, not only the whole xvritten 
law, as we find it in the Pentateuch, but likewise 
an explanation or interpretation of it, which they 
call the Oral law, Avhich W2.s not wTitten, but ver- 
bally communicated by Moses to Aaron, Eleazer, 
and his servant Joshua. By these it was transmit- 
ted, by tradition, to the seventj' elders ; by them to 
Ezra and the prophets, who communicated it to 
the men of the great synagogue, from whom the 
wise men of Jerusalem and Babylon received it. 
In this manner, \\q are told, were these interpreta- 
tions of the law handed do^vn, by oral tradition, till 
the end of the second, or beginning of the third 
centur}', when, in consequence of the dispersion 
and depressed state of their nation, it was thought 
necessaiy to commit tliem to uTiting, and the 
w^ork was undertaken by Rabbi Judah Hakkodesh^ 
i. e. the Holy^ then rector of the school, and presi- 
dent of the Sanhedrim at Tiberias, who compiled 
and arranged them in six books ; each consisting 
of several tracts, and altogetlier making up the 
number of sixty-three. * This their Oral law, the 

* At the end of Levi's Ceremonies of the Jews^ may be 
seen a brief account of all the parts of the Mishna^ as also 


\VRabbinical Jews to this day hold equally sacred 
with the Scriptural hiw ; and the book into which 
it was thus collected and digested, is what they call 
the Mishna^ which is a Hebrew word, signifying 
repetition. * 

The Mishna having been delivered in apho- 
risms and short sentences, it was soon found 
that it too required illustration and explanation. 
Accordingly their most eminent and learned men 
expounded to their scholars, the meaning of those 

of the several teachers of it, from its first delivery by 
Moses till the time of its completion by Rabbi Jydah, who 
is accounted the fortieth receiver from Mo^es. 

Speaking tliere of the ivritten law or Pentatuech, Mr. 
Levi observes, that it " was written by Moses himself, be- 
fore his death ; the number of copies which he wrote 
were thirteen ; he gave one to each trihe ; and one copy 
he put into the ark, to remain there continually, accord- 
ing to the commandment Deut. xxxi. v. 26." p. 224. 

* Authors are not agreed as to the time when Rabbi 
Jehuda or Judah completed the Mishna. The Jews sell 
us that it was not until about A. D. 215. when he was far 
advanced in years. Dr. Prideaux supposes it to have been 
about the year 150, and Doctors Lightfoot and Lartlner 
suppose it was finished about 190, 

The original Mishna^ with its Commentators, Maimoni- 
des, and Bartenora, was published, with a Latin transla- 
tion and notes, at Amsterdam, by Surenhusius, in VL Vol. 
Fol. 1698. This, the Jews tell us, " although full of blun- 
ders, is, on the whole, a tolerable work." — On the other 
hand, De Bure speaks thus of it, — *• Bon ouvrage et fort 
esiime, dont les Exemplaires ne se trouvent plus com- 


short sentences, and Illustrated all the more difficult 
passages of the Mishna with comments. Those 
comments and expositions are what they call the 
Ge?nara, i. e. the Complement, because by them 
the Mishna is fully explained, and the whole tradi- 
tionary doctrine of their lav/ and religion com- 
pleted ; for the Mishna is the text, and the Geniara 
the comment : both together is what they call the 
Talmud^ and the idiom of this collection is called 
the Talmuchcal. 

There are t\\ o Gemaras, tlie one WTitten or com- 
piled by R. Jochanan, who became primate of the 
schools in Judea about the year 230, and died in 
279, for the use of the Jews in Judea, whence it is 
called the Gemara of Jerusalem; the other, \\Titten 
in a more pure and perspicuous style, was publish- 
ed at Babylon about the fiftli century, whence it is 
called the Babylonish Gemara.* 

* On the subject of these Gemaras, a distinguished Jew 
has remarked, that " being nothing more than a collection 
of sentiments, parables, and legal determinations of the se- 
veral great men or their schools, at different limes, the two 
Gemaras may be considered as one, and the Babylonish 
only a continuation of the Jerusalem. It is true, howeverj" 
adds he, " the former is that intended to be designated by 
the generic expression of Talmud; but only because, as 
being later and more complete than that of Jerusal»^m, it 
comprises this last." VVooton gave an E; glish translation 
of part of the Gemara; but the Jews insist that he did not 
do justice to the original. 

VOL. I. I 


From there being two Gemaras, there are two 
Talmuds ; the one consisting of the Mishna and 
Jerusalem Gemara, the other of the Mishna and 
Babylonish Gemara; so that the same Mishna or 
text is common to both. The former is prefen-ed 
by the Christians, as containing fewer fables, ab- 
surdities, and trifles : the latter is preferred by the 
Jews, as descending most into particulars ; and 
when they mention the Talmud, they in general 
mean by it the Babylonish.* 

The Targiims are translations, expositions, or 
interpretations of Scripture, which at different times 
since the Jews' return from Babylon, and by differ- 
ent hands, have been made, in the Chaldee lan- 
guage,! of all the Hebrew parts of the Old Testa- 
ment, for the use of the more ignorant Jews. There 
were anciently many of these of different sorts, upon 
different parts of Scripture, and of various degi'ees 
of merit ; but the chief of those that remain to this 
day, are the Targum or CJialdee Paraphrase of 

* The Ra^binists plead in defence of their Talmud, that 
the fables, parables, &:c. with which it abounds, are not to 
be so absolutely vilified as many Christian authors have 
maliciously done : that many have been very rationally ex- 
pi lined ; and although a great number remain obscure and 
inexplicable, nay .apparently ridiculous, tliey ought not to 
be condemned, but taken cum grano salts, with due allow- 
ance for the age and superstition common to the times in 
"Which tiiey were written, from which many Christian au- 
thors of those days were not free. 

t The name of Targum has sometimes been applied to 
other translations. 

THE JEWS. 6.7 

O- kelos upon the law of Moses, and that of Jona- 
than upon the prophets ; and of these the former is 
far better executed than the latter. There are 
strong grounds for believing, that all the Tai'gums 
are subsequent to the version of the Seventy;^ but 
some leaiTied men are of opinion, that these two 
were w ritten before the Christian era ; and they are 
regarded by the Jews as equal to the Hebrew text. 

The Jerusalem Tar gum, which is an exposition 
upon the law, is of much later date, and of less 
esteem ; nor is it complete or perfect, for there are 
some verses wanting, some are transposed, and 
others mutilated. There are no Targums upon 
Daniel, nor upon the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. 

* Rabl?i Azariah, in his elaborate and learned work call- 
ed Myor Enayim, endeavours to account for the readings 
in the Sefituagint being in many instances different from 
those of the original Hebrew; and attempts to prove from 
internal evidence of that version, together with many other 
collateral arguments, and supported by quotations from 
Philo, Eusebius, and others, that in Ezra's time a Syriac 
version was in common use, and that the Seventy actually 
translated from it. I am not aware how far this hypothesis 
is well thought of, or whether it has yet been controverted 
by any Christian divine. 

The Jews likewise tell us, that Onkelos, whom they 
place coeval with Aquila, the Greek interpreter of the 
Bible, collated all the prior Syriac translations, which had 
been greatly corrupted, and translating the Bible anew into 
pure Chaldaic, corrected them, and produced the luminous 
version still so much esteemed by them, and called by his 
name. Its date they compute to be about the year 120. 


The Targum of Joseph the Blind upon the Hagio- 
grapUy (i. e. upon the Psahrss, Job, the Proverbs, 
the Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, and Esther,) is 
also of modem date, and of but httle esteem. 

Both the Targums of Op.kelos and Jonathan are 
written in tolerably pure Chaldee; but the former 
is reckoned the more pure, and is in most esteem 
among Christian divines. On the contrary, the 
latter is in most request among the Jews in gene- 
ral ; and is strongly suspected to have had addi- 
tions made to it by Jewish doctors, some centuries 
after Christ. To these Targums, therefore, and 
particularly to the former, recourse must be had in 
investigating the unadulterated sense of the Old 
Testament, and in exploring the genuine senti- 
ments of the Jews.* 

Much information respecting the opinions and 
sentiments of the modem Jews, may be found in 
the wTitings of the late D. Levi, particularly in his 
Letters to Dr. Priestley^ in ajiswer to his Letters to 
the Jews; — in his Defence of the Old Testament, 
in A Series of Letters addressed to Thomas Paine; 
— and in his Dissertations on the Prophecies of the 
Old Testament. All of them sold by Jolmson, No. 
72, St. Paul's Church-yard, London. 

• The best edition is perhaps that of the great Hebrew 
Bible published at Basil by the elder Buxtorf in 1620 in 
IV. Vol. fol. Another and very elegant edition of tiie great 
Bi'.le was printed about thirty years ago by Proops at Am- 



MPLE, Worship, Rites, and Ceremo- 
nies. — In the wilderness, the tabernacle was con- 
structed for the worship of God; and the Jewish 
temple, afterwards built by Solomon, was the 
grandest structure in the A^'orld, and so large as to 
contain an immense multitude, some say 300,000 
people! It was overlaid and paved with gold; and 
the outside, being of the whitest marble, had a 
singular and dazzling lustre, so as to appeal' at a 
distance like a mountain of snow. Some of the 
stones of it, Josephus tells us, were upwards of 
sixt}^-seven feet long, more than seven feet high, 
and nine feet broad. The second temple, Avhich 
was built by Zerubbabel and the Jews on their re- 
turn from Babylon, and afterwards repaired by 
Herod, was far inferior to the former; and is gene- 
rally supposed to have wanted these Jive things, 
which the other contained, viz. 1st, The Ark of the 
Covenant^ and the mercy-seat \^'hich was upon it, 
with the cherubim of gold, together with the tables 
of stone on m hich the law was wTitten, which were 
in the ark when it \A'as brought into Solomon's tem- 
ple:* 2d, The Shechinah, or symbol of the divine 
presence, in a cloud of glory on the mercy-seat : 
3d, The Urim and Thummim^ whence the oracle 
or divine answers to their enquiries came : 4th, The 
Holy Fire upon the altar, m hich came from hea- 
ven. 5th, The Spirit of Prophecy ; for soon after 
the second temple was built, on the death of 
Malachi, who, according to some, is the same 

* I Kings, viii. 9. — 2 Chron. v. 10. 


with Ezra, the prophetic spirit ceased from among 
the Jews. 

The house of God was holy ; into the temple, 
properly so called, none were permitted to enter 
but the priests, and there they always officiated 
barefooted ;* but into the Holy of Holies, the High 
Priest alone could go, and that only once a year, 
on the great day of atonement. At the temple only 
could sacrifices be offered, and there all the males, 
i. e. as Mr. Locke observes, from twenty to fifty 
years old, even from the most distant comers of 
the land, were required to present themselves be- 
fore the Lord, three times every year.f 

The religion of the ancestors of the Jews, before 
the time of Moses, was the simplest and purest in 
the world, consisting in the worship of the one 
living and true God, under whose immediate direc- 
tion they were ; in a firm reliance on his promises 
under all difficulties and dangers ; and in a thankful 
acknowledgment for all his blessings and deliver- 
ances. In that early age, we find the religious cus- 
tom of tithes ;± we likewise read of altars, pillars, 
and monuments raised, and sacrifices offered to 
God ; which last are now generally believed to have 
been of divine institution. They used circumcision, 
not so much as a religious act, as a seal of the cove- 

* Levi's Defence of the Old Testament, in a series of 
letters to Thomas Paine, p. 145. 

t Deut. xvi. 16. I Genesis, xiv. 20. 


nant, which God had made with Abraham. As 
to the mode aiid circumstances of divine worship, 
they were much at Hberty till the time of Moses j 
but that legislator, by the direction and appoint- 
ment of God himself, prescribed an instituted form 
of religion, and regulated ceremonies, feasts, days, 
priests, and sacrifices, with the utmost exactness. 
The rites and observances of their religion under 
the law were numerous, and its sanctions severe ;* 
and for information on this subject, from the com- 
mencement of their history to the destruction of 
their city and nation, recourse may be had to the 
Old Testament, Josephus, and Fleurj^'s Manners 
of the Ancient Jews. 

* So much so are they considered by the Jews at this 
day, that Mr. Levi (Dissertations, Vol. II. p. 144.) seems 
to view it as one reason, why infidelity gains so much 
ground amonij them, that " many wish not to be shackled 
with the burden of the ceremonial law." But why will 
they plunge themselves into outer darkness, instead of 
coming into the light ? He whom they continue to reject, 
though doubtless the true Messiah, had also their ground 
of complaint in his eye, when, in the most affectionate and 
encouraging language, he thus called upon ihem : " Come 
unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest." But the same reason which he assigned 
for their forefathers not accepting his gracious invitations, 
may yet, it is feared, be alleged as what makes them still 
reject them, and choose darkness rather than light. For 
they must know, that though his gospel would free them 
from the burden of the ceremonial law, it would not re- 
lease them, in the least, from those " great restraints in 
the pursuit of pleasure," which are now so irksome to 
them, as to induce them to throw off the yoke of that law. 


Not:^vithstanding that God's prophets, and ora- 
cles, and ordinances, and the symbol of his pre- 
sence, were among them, the Jews were ever very 
prone to idolatry, till the Babylonish furnace tho- 
roughly purified them from that corruption. After 
their seventy years captivity, they turned indeed 
from idolatry, and have never again been guilty of 
the crime ;* yet they turned not to ti'ue and pure 
religion, but to superstition, formality, hypocrisy, 
and schism. Such, in a great measure, was their 
religious worship and character in our Saviour's 
time ; and such, many seem to think, it still con- 
tinues to be, in a greater or less degree, at the pre- 
sent day. The noise and confusion of a Jewish syna- 
gogue are become proverbial ; but I suspect that in 
many instances they have not been fairly represent- 
ed by Cliristians, partly from blind prejudice, but 

* The restored Jews have never again voluntarily and 
nationally become idolaters, but from the lime of Antio- 
chus Epiphanes to the final destruction of their polity, 
there was a numerous faction, which in every tiling affect- 
ed the Greek manners; and " this Hellenising party" (Bi- 
shop Horsley tells us, in his Hosea, p. 8.) " were idolaters 
to a man." Mjny individuals likewii>e have submitted to 
the idolatry of the church of Rome. 

They had the glorious distinction of being the only na- 
tion in the Roman empire, who opposed the sacrilege of 
deifying the imperial family; so perfectly did their capti- 
vity at Babylon cure them ol idolatry. 

Tacitus has remarked with surprise, that, on Pompey's 
passing through the temple, and entering t'le Holy of Ho- 
lies, after having conquered the Jews, "he found no statue, 
no symbolical representation of the Deity: the whole pre- 
sented a naked dome, the sanctuary was unadorned and 


more frequently, I trust, from not understanding- 
their form of worship. 

Dr. Hey scruples not to say " that the modern 
Jews seem to walk about their synagogues in Lon- 
don, at religious meetings, as if religion was not in 
all their thoughts.'** 

There may indeed be some ground for this asser- 
tion ; and the fact that has given rise to it is, that a 
great number of pauses occur in the service of the 
synagogues, during which the congi'egation is little 
interested, and their time is then too frequently fill- 
ed up by conversation, which appears iiTeverent in 
that place. The women sit by tliemselves in the 
gallery of the synagogue, and are paited from the 
men, not, as has been asserted, because they hold 
that they have not so divine a soul as men, and are 
of a lower creation, but that the latter may not, by 
their presence, be incited to profane thoughts : an 
example surely not unworthy of being followed by 

Ancient Judaism, compared with all religions 
but the Christian, was distinguished for its purity 
and spirituality ; aiid the whole Mosaic ritual was of 
a tj^pical nature. 

As formerly, -vA'hile they enjoyed an established 
religion, they still have liturgies, in \^ hich are all the 

* Norrisian Lectures, Vol. II. p. 197. 
VOL. I. K 


prescribed forms of thek synagogue -worship; "and 
those who have not time to go to the synagogue, 
must say their prayers at home, three times every- 
day, i. e. in the morning, in the afternoon, and at 
night.'"* Praying in modern Hebrew is the usage 
of all Jews at this day ; but they ai^e not forbidden 
to do so in any other, if they fail to understand the 
"holy language ;" and some formulcc have crept in, 
which, say they, are Chaldaic. 

That which G. Ben Pedachzar has so wretched- 
ly translated, is the general fomi of daily prayers, 
8cc. among the German Jews.f The Portuguese 
have some variations in several of the prayers, 
though the outline is the same. For festivals, a 
gi'eat number of additional formulae, hymns, &:c. 
are introduced, composing several other volumes. 

* Levi's Cerem. p. 178. Another example surely most 
worthy of being follow<-d by all Christians. 

t Book of Rfligion, Ceremonies^ and Prayers of the Jews, 
En:;j:lis>.ed by G.iinaliei iJen Pedachzar. 

The London edition of this work in 1738, Bvo, may be 
seen in the Advucates' Library, Edinburgh. 

It my be necessary to rematk here, that there are three 
divisions or classes of modem Jews; for tliey cannot be 
teiniei; sects, since the only difference between them is 
some varieties in their respective liturgies, and in the 
regulations of sundry ceremonies. In the main points of 
belief .nd ob>ervances they all a.!;;ree ; and tbey are various- 
ly denominated fion> the countries where the arrange- 
ments of their liturgies took place, .nd are known by 
the designations of German, Portuguese, and Avignoriyor 
Italian Jews. 


As a specimen of their prayers, and in proof of 
their loyalty, I here present the reader with the 
form of prayer "for the prosperity of his Majesty 
and the Royal Family of Great Britain, as used by 
all the Jews residing in their dominions, in all their 
places of A\orship, on their Sabbath-days and so- 
lemn festivals/' 

A Prayer for the Royal Family. 

" He that dispenseth salvation unto kings, and 
dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an ever- 
lasting kingdom ; who delivered his senant David 
from the destiTicti\ e s^vord ; who maketh a u'ay in 
the seas, and a path through the mighty Abaters : 
He shall bless and preser\'e, guard and assist, exalt 
and highly aggrandise, our most gracious sovereign 
lord, King George the Third, our most gracious 
Queen C h a r l o t t e , his Royal Highness Ge o r g e, 
Prince of Wales, and all the Royal Family: 
may tlie Supreme King of kings, through his infir 
nite mercy, grant them life, and preserve and deli- 
ver them from all manner of troubles and danger; 
and cause his enemies to fall before him, and grant 
him to reign prosperously : may the Supreme King 
of kings, through his infinite mercy, inspire him 
and his counsellors, the nobles, and states of his 
kingdom, with benevolence towards us and all 
Israel; in his and our days may Judah be saved, 
and Israel dwell in safet}' ; and may the Redeemer 


come unto Zion ; which God in his infinite mercies 
grant, and we will say, amen."* 

Vocal music is very common in their s}Tia- 
gogues, but instrumental music is seldom used; 
yet not because it is deemed improper, for the 
synagogue in Prague has an organ, but because it 
cannot be performed on the Sabbath or holidays. 
At the consecration of the great synagogue in 
Duke's Place, London, some years since, a grand 
band of music performed some psalms, odes, &c. 
composed and selected for the occasion ; but the 
. concert ceased the moment that the Sabbath was 
considered as commenced, f 

* Levi's Ceremonies of the Jews, p. 51, 2. It must no 
doubt be considered as a further niaik. ot tiie loyally of the 
Jews, and highly creditable to them, that the heacis of tlie 
different synagogues in Londi n, and otner distiniiuished 
men amon.^ them, have lately ad.iressed to their brethren 
a siiong exhortation — 'to obey the laws; — not to rany on 
any trade on the Chiistian S.ibbath; — rioi to keep houses 
of ill fame, nor to commit other irreKuiarities, under their 
high censure, and forfeiture of the piivileges iittached to 
them as bel'-nging to their commuijity.'' See also an able 
sermon, preached in the gr^-at synagoj^ue, Duke's Place, 
London, on 5th December, 1805, by the Rev Dr. Hirschel, 
the learned and very respectable presiding Rabbi of the 
German Jews, London. 

t " They may not ride on horseback, nor in a carriage, 
nor go by water, nor /ilay upon any musical iiistrumciit, on 
the Sabbath; they may not batlie on the Sabbath; tiiey may 
not bury the dead on the Sabbath ; — they ni.»y not kiiidle 
or put out a fire on the Sabbath; nor may they mourn or 


They still continue to circumcise all their male 
children on the eighth day,* and to redeem their 
first-bom. Women have sometimes been employ- 
ed in the former rite ; but such is not the case at 
present, nor is circumcision always performed in 
the synagogue ; but wherever it takes place, it is 
usually the case that a godfather and godmother 
are present. And if in the synagogue, a large 
chair w ith two seats is placed for the occasion, " the 
one for the godfather to sit on, the other is called 
the seat of Elijah the prophet, who is called the 
angel or messenger of the covenant.^^\ 

All the males are reckoned to enter the state of 
manhood, and to be accountable for their actions 
at the age of thirteen; when a ceremony, answer- 
ing in some measure to oitr confirmation, takes 
place, and they are declared " sons of the pre- 

fasi nn the Sabbath, except on the ^reat day of expiation." 
—Levi's Ceremonies, p. 17, 18, and 126. 

If the first day of the seventh month (f. e. New- Year's 
Day, beinj^ the first diy of the civil year, and what is called 
the Feast of Trumpets,) " happens to be on the S.ibbath, 
ihey do not blow the trumpet on the first day, only on the 
seconrl." — P. 84. 

* If the child be sick, he is not circumcised till he is 
quite well. " The father is speci.illy commanded to re- 
deem his first-born son; but not till he is a full month 
old : but if the father should neglect it, or the child should 
be born after the death of the father ; in either case he is 
obliEred to redeem himself, as soon as he arrives at proper 
age." — Levi's Ceremonies, p. 161. 

t Levi's Ceremonies, p. 154. 


cept ;" being obliged, from that time forward, to 
obsen^e the precepts of the law. Every male is 
then also " obliged, before he begins his pravers, 
whether it be at the public worship at the syna- 
gogue, or privately at home, to put on the Phylac- 
teries ;" which, it seems, they still scrupulously use 
for the head and the left arm.* They likewise wear 
a veil in the synagogue, accounting it improper to 
be uncovered in the house of God. They still keep 
the festival of the Passover, but not the Sacrifice ; 
and instead of the paschal lamb, they " eat a piece 
of unleavened bread in remembrance thereof."! 

And on the great day of Expiation, which always 
happens on the 10th day of Tishry^ i. e. the seventh 
month, they continue in prayers " from morning 
till night, for upwards of twelve hours ^vithout in- 

* On all Sabbaths and holidays they are obliijed to go 
three times to the synagogue ; and tlmse who are unavoid- 
ably prevented from attending their ducy there, are re- 
quired, as already observed, to pmy three times a-day at 
home. " It is an article ot faith among us," says Mr. Levi, 
" that every Jew must every morning, during the time of 
reading the Shema, and saying the nineteen prayers at 
least, have on the Phylacteries; because it is a sign of our 
acknowledging the Almiglity to be the Creator of all 
things, and that he hath power to do as he pleases: and 
therefore on the Sabbath, and other festivals, we lio not 
put on the Phijlacteries ; because the duly ob erving of 
them is a sufficient sign of itself, as expressed in Exodus, 
sxxi. 12." — Ceremonies, p. 190. 

t Levi's Cerem. p, 50. \ Ibid. p. 98. 


They begin their Sabbaths, fasts, and festivalSj 
an hour before sunset, both summer and winter, 
and conclude them next day at the same hour, or 
when three stars appear in the firmament. Their 
year is divided into tAvelve lunar months ; some of 
which consist of t\vent}^-nine, others of thirty days ; 
which diiference is occasioned by the various ap- 
pearances of the new moon ; her first appearance 
being always accounted the first day of the month. 

They count their ecclesiastical year from the 
month JVissoriy which generally falls about oiu' 
March ; and their civil jear from Tishry^ the se- 
venth month of the ecclesiastical year, which gene- 
rally happens in September. They reckon from 
the creation, and do not make the world so old as 
w^e Christians do, who, following Sir Isaac Newton, 
compute the birth of Christ to have happened in 
the 4004th year of the world, which, added to 1808, 
will give the number 5812; exceeding the Jewish 
chronology by 244 years, this current year being 
with them 5568.* 

See Levi's Ceremonies of the Jexvs^ (printed for J. 
Parsons, No. 21, Paternoster-row,) passim. Rabbi 

* To investigate this confusion of years must no doubt 
involve an elaborate researcii ; yet it is well worth an in- 
quiry, and might profitably employ some learned Jew ; for 
none but a Jew, who can readily have access to Jewish 
authorities, can well determine so very iniiicate a subject, 
as great confusion seems to exist in the mode of reckon- 
ing time during the middle ages, and indeed since the 
time of Alexander of Macedon. 


Leo of Modena, who enlarges on their customs, 
ceremonies, he. in his History of the present Jews 
throughout the JVorldy already quoted in this work, 
is scarcely known, I am told, among the Jews, and 
not regarded by the few learned among them who 
have read his works; perhaps from his being 
thou£':ht too partial to the Christians. Yet his his- 
tory fjrms the ground-work of what we find on 
these subjects, both in Buxtorf 's Synagoga Judaica^ 
and in the 1st vol. of Picart's '-''Religious Ceremo- 
nies of all Nations,^'' 

Government and Discipline. — ^The Jew- 
ish church is at present governed by a presiding 
Rabbi in the city or town \^'here they may be set- 
tled, v\ ho attaches to himself two other Rabbles, 
and these three combined form a kind of tribunal 
in sacred or religious causes, and frequently deter- 
mine private disputes. This tribunal is termed 
Beth Din^ or the House of Justice. As the priest- 
hood is at present totally abrogated, having ceased 
with the temple, the term High-Priest is an ex- 
ploded one ; no presiding Rabbi now exercising the 
functions of High-Priest, ^^hich were only applica- 
ble to the temple. Hence the choice of Rabbi (or 
Jiafds he is termed by the German Jews, or Ha- 
cham by the Portuguese) is not confined to the tribe 
of Levi ; although that ti'ibe be the only one that, 
they concei\ e, can now be at all distinguished. Its 
members are all at present considered as laymen. 
Tliey have, notwithstanding, some trifling distinc- 
tions paid them in the synagogue service ; for those 


among them that are descended from the priests, 
who are called Cohen^ or in the plural Cohetmn, 
perform the benediction, and are called first to the 
law : they also personate the priest in the ceremony 
of redeeming the first-born, and ha^e some other 
complimentary precedences paid them. The Le- 
vites, i. e. those who are descendants from the 
singers in the temple, are second in rank, and are 
called next to the law, and a ash the hands of the 
Cohenim before they go to the benediction, &c. 
With all this the Rabbi has nothing to do, unless 
he chance to be of that tribe. The ministry of a 
presiding Rabbi, elected fur that purpose from the 
general mass of learned Rabbles by the congrega- 
tion, Avhose head he is, consists of nothing more 
than that, as a spiritual director, he solves questions 
that arise in the ceremonial observances, — occa* 
sionally preaches, — maiTies, — superintends divor- 
ces, and the ceremony of throwing the shoe, called 
Chalitza^ &c.* He is generally allowed a compe- 
tent salary, which, together with perquisites, ren- 
ders it imnecessary for him to engage in any secu- 
lar business, for which indeed he is seldom capaci- 
tated, nor is it thought honourable ; although I un- 
derstand that, in a few instances, some presiding 
Rabbies in Germany and Italy have been engaged 

* Marriage, in all reirular societies, is always performed 
by the presidina; Rablii, or hy t,ome one depute by hiiu; 
but a marri '^e bolemnised with the due ceremonies by any 
other orthodox Jew, is valid. Tiie ceremony of throwing 
the >>hoe takes place when a Jew refuses to tnarry liis bro- 
ther's vvidow, and is grounded on Deut. x.kv. 9. 
VOL. I. L 


ill trade, through tlie medium of some intervening- 

Other Rabbies may follow any worldly occupa- 
tion, as the title of Rabbi is merely honorary, and 
does not confer any priestly ordination or sacred 

Ancient and Modern Sects. — The Jewisli 
sects, in our Saviour's time, were, 

1. The Samaritans^ a people partly of Jewish 
and partly of heathen exti*action; who were cir- 
cumcised, observed die ceremonies of the law, of- 
fered sacrifices at their temple on Mount Gerizim, 
and expected the Messiah ; but would not allow 
Jerusalem to be the place of worship, and rejected 
all traditions ; nor would they receive any of the 
books of the Old Testament except the five books 
of Moses. 

2. The Pharisees, who added to the \vritten 
word ti'aditions innumerable, and were remai'kable 
for formality and hypocrisy, and for placing all re- 

* By tlie 9th article of their creed, the Jews I)elieve in 
the perpeiuity of their law, written and oral, moral and 
ceremonial : I have therefore yet to learn on what scriptu- 
ral authority they ground the abrogation of the priesthood, 
and the practice wfiicli thty have introduced of admitting 
men into sacted offices promiscuously, or from any of the 
tribes, notwit- st-mding they conceive, that the tribe of Lo75 
may yet be in some measure distinguished. 


ligion in external ceremony. They had subsisted 
about 150 years before the Christian era. 

3. The Sadducees, who were more ancient than 
the Pharisees, but less numerous. In the Talmud 
we are told, that they deriA-ed their name from 
Sadoc ; and that the sect arose about 250 yeai's 
A. C. in the time of Antigonis of Socho^ president 
of the Sanhedrim. With the Samaritans, they re- 
ceived only the Pentateuch, and rejected the ti'adi- 
tions of the Pharisees. They also denied the be- 
ing of angels, the resurrection of tlie body, and the 
immortaJit}^ of the soul. 

They held that the soul had no separate exist- 
ence, but A'anished, or fell into nothing, at the dis- 
solution of its union \y\\h. the body. Scaliger, and 
some others, will not allo^^• that they rejected all 
the books of scripture but those of Moses ; because 
many of them, as Caiphas, &c. were priests, and 
even high priests. ■ This sect fell at the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem, and Sadducees have been but 
litde heard of since. A feA\-, indeed, are said still 
to subsist in Africa, and some other places ; but 
they are rai'ely found, at least there are but few that 
declare themsehes for these opinions, and they are 
held by the other Jews as heretics. 

4. The Essenes^ who were nearly of the same 
date with the Pharisees, and were distinguished by 
an austere sane tit)', by having all things in com- 
mon, by abstaining from marriage, and by living a 
monastic and contemplative life. 


They did not worship at the temple, but in their 
synagogues and at home, and have thence been 
considered schismatics, as well as the Samaritans.* 

To these may be added another sect, formed by 
Judas Galil^uSy i. e. Jada from Galilee, and agfee- 
ing in most points Avith the Pharisees. See Jose- 
Phils' Antiquities^ Book xviii. chap. 2,-\ 

The Jexuish Sects of the present day^ are, — 
1. The Samaritans^ who were not expelled their 
country, like the other Jews, but have still their 
high priest, and offer sacrifices on mount Ge- 
rizim. The chief seat of the sect is the an- 
cient Sichem^ or Salem, now called JVaplouse^ or 
New Samaria, in the valley between Ebal and 
Gerizim. They are few in number,! but pretend 

* Rahbi Azariah, the learned author of Myor £natm, 
supposes the Essenes to hiive been the same as those that 
the Ra bins termed Baytlmsim^ (vide Biixioif,) a sect co- 
eval v\!tii ihe Sadducees; imkI thiit both of ihem originated 
from ilie same bchisni by two per^ohs, the one named Sadocy 
and the other Bayt/iux ; two |.upils of Antis^onus of Socho. 

t For a more full i'ccount of the anrieni Jewish sects, 
see iho 2(i book of Jo-»ep'. u*-.' Wars of the Jews; the Intro- 
duction to Echard's Eccles. History ; the last volume of Dr. 
Piideaiix's Connexion ; Bishop Pert y's Key to the JVetv 
Testament, he. 

\ l.eauveau, in his Voyage to the Levant, Part 3d, re- 
dm es their whole numlier to two hundred and fifty; and 
some Jews seem to doubt of their existence at all, and to 
ques ion, whether any authtniic modern traveller can be 
adduced to witness ti eir exercising any worship on Mount 
Gerizim in these days ; observing, that they were wholly 


to great strictness in their observation of the law of 
Moses. They do not marry their own neices, as 
the Rabbinists do, nor do they delay circumcision 
beyond the eighth day. They are the only Jews 
that now offer sacrifices ; and they say that their 
priests are of the family of Aaron. Their tenets 
are, in other respects, much the same with those 
of their ancestors ; and the same hatred still sub- 
sists as formerly between them and the modern 
Rabbinists, who do not acknowledge them as Jews, 
but call them Cuthites^ from the name of one of 
the nations that Esarhaddon planted in Sarnaria.* 
Some of them are to be found at Gaza, some at 
Damascus, and some at Grand Cairo in Egypt. 

The Samaritan Pentateuch is a copy of the ori- 
ginal Hebrew, \\Titten in the old Hebrew or Phoe- 
nician chai'acters; and, besides this original text, 
they have another copy of the Pentateuch in the 
language that was vulgarly spoken among them, 

or almost destroyed hy Hircanus aboat the year 1 15 before 
Christ ; and that this circumstance gave strength to the 
sect of the Sadducees. See D. Ganj^'s Tsemach David. 
However this may be, they doubtless existed about the end 
of the 1 7th century ; for they then wrote to the Jews in 
England, supposing them to have been of their sect. The 
letters were addressed to their brethren /n the city of Eng- 
land. They likewise returned answers to the letters writ- 
ten them by Joseph Scaliger and Ludolph. 

* The Rabbinists tell us, that they were permitted pro- 
selytes, but that intermarriages with them were forbidden; 
and that when their temple was destroyed, the figure of a 
dove was found in it as an object of adoration. 


which is called the Samaritan Version. — For fur- 
ther particulars respecting them, see the article Sa- 
maritans, in the third edition of the Encycl. Brit. ; 
and the Letters of Father Morin, published in 1682, 
and entitled, Antiquitates Ecclesice Orientalis. 

2. The Sadducees. — See p. 51. 

V 3. The Rabbinists, or Talmudists, who add to 
the -written law all the traditions of the Talmuds. 
They conceive, that the true sense of their scrip- 
tures is only to be found in their oral traditions, 
and the commentaries of their celebrated doctors ; 
and, in fact, they hold the Talmuds, or at least the 
Mishna, in equal veneration, and of equal authority, 
with the written law, or books of the Old Testa- 
ment. They hold the ancient Pharisees in high 
estimation ; and tell us, that they were not a sect, 
but the whole mass of Jews, from which schism 
had separated and branched out the other sects. 
They insist that their character is not fairly repre- 
sented in the New Testament, and refer us to Jo- 
sephus for a just account of them. They seem to 
inherit their self-righteousness, and with them to 
plead their o^vn merits, or at least those of their 
forefathers, in their addresses to God. * 

* " We supplicate the Divine Majesty to deal merci- 
fully and gracio'isly with us, and to rememher unto us the 
merits of our ancestois, Abrah;im, Isa.:'C, and Jacob." — • 
Levi's Ceremonies, p. 78. Again, " We beseech t'le Al- 
niiglty, through his infinite merry, to le' us rea/i the mer- 
its oi his ritrhieous and fait'fui s* rv nt Mnst^s." — P. 115. 
And in p. 206, it is said, that " In heaven shall our merits 


The numerous fables, idle stories, and otherwise 
strange materials, with which the Talmuds are 
stuffed, gave serious offence to many judicious and 
well-meaning Jews, who were unwilling to believe 
that such traditions could come from God, but 
who, notwithstanding, did not allow tlieir dissent to 
proceed to any breach or schism among them, till 
about A. D. 750, when one arose from this, which 
continues to this day. Anati, a Jew of Babylon, 
and Saul his son, then openly disclaimed and con- 
demned all traditions, excepting such only as agreed 
with the written word of God. And as those who 
opposed them and adhered to the Talmuds, were 
chiefly the Rabbins and their scholars, that party 
was called the Talmudists or Rahbinists ; while the 
other, declaring for the Scripture alone, which in 
the Babylonish language is called Kara^ \\'ere 
thence called Karaites or Caraites^ i. e. Scriptuari- 
ans. And this last is the 

4th Sect, of modern Jews. 

The Karaites are sometimes called Sadducees by 
their opponents the Talmudical Jews, but very un- 
justly, for they agree with them in nothing so much 
as in rejecting the oral la^^ , or system of unwritten 
traditions. Collectively considered, they are men 

be rehearsed.'^ — See also p. 80. 83. 166, 8cc. of the same 
work. Coold I expect that those who adopt such lan- 
guage in their prayers, will listen to any advice of mine, I 
would recommend to their serious perusal a very excel- 
lent sermon on Justification, by the judicious Hooker, 
commonly bound up with his Kcdesiaatical Politij. 


of great learning, probity, and virtue ; but it is not 
true, as has been asserted, that they perform all 
their religious duties in the language of the countr}- 
where they reside ; for a person lately in London 
from Lithuania (where they most abound) assures 
us, that they use the Hebrew prayers, though not 
precisely the liturgy in use among the other sects.* 
They are more in number than the Samaritans, but 
infinitely less numerous than the Talmudists; for 
their whole number, when taken in the middle of 
the 17th century, did not exceed 5,000. 

It is however probable, that they are increasing ; 
for we are told in Tama's Transactions of the Pa- 
risian Sanhedrim^ that a society of Dutch Jews pub- 
lished, in 1800, their resolution " to acknowledge 
only the pure and genuine law of Moses, and to re- 
ject all those institutiijns, which, till then, had been 
called Talmiidic /aws.^^-\ This society, it is added, 
had numerous followers ; and I think it is likely 
they will increase as the Jews advance in know- 
ledge and improvement. 

* " Collectivement consideres, ce sont les plus honne- 
tes jijens d'entre les Juifb; ils sont aussi les plus senses, 
car ils rejettent les traditions talmudiques. On ne leur 
connoit gueres qu'une vaine observance ; c'est de cioire 
les prie'cs peu fru- tueuses, si on n'a pas a cote de soi des 
flambeaux allui' es " — M. Gregoire's E/maz sur La Re 
generation dea Jmfs, p. 206. See Cuiieus De Refiub. He- 
brceoru?}!, and Trigh-nds Sy7it,agma De Tribus Judxorum 
Sectia; together with his work s"'.joinfd to it on this jiar- 
ticular sect, enti' led, i>«ain6e de Secta Karcsoruviyiu 2 vols. 
4lo. DelfihiSi 1703. 

t P. 62. 


Schools, Learning, Learned Men, &c. — 
In the midst of their calamities and depression, 
the Jews have all along paid some attention to 
their language and religion ; but dispersed as they 
are, and without a country of their own, they 
cannot be expected to have such national esta- 
blishments as univ . / cities ; yet in almost every con- 
siderable town on tlie continent, where they are in 
any great numbers, schools are formed under the 
auspices of their presiding or dominant Rabbles, 
who confer titles on tlieir scholars, or on others that 
deserve them. They appear to have two degrees 
analogous and most probably taken from the usages 
at universities ; the one, Rabbi, nearly equivalent 
to B. A., and the other, Morenu Bab, answering to 
Doctor. These appear to be of modern institution, 
and to have commenced about A. D. 1420; pre- 
vious to which the latter term is not found, and the 
distinction is supposed to have become necessary, 
in order to prevent the iiregular conducting of mar- 
riages and divorces, which every one presumed to 
do, in consequence of the title of Rabbi, although 
not sufficiently informed or qualified for the office. 
The origin of these schools was evidently the Safi- 
hedrim in the temple ; by whose determination the 
laws were explained, and all the Mosaic institu- 
tions were reduced to minute and actual practice. 
The form, period, and manner of all ceremonies 
and obsen^ances, were by them established and 
handed down to successive Sanhedrims, who, as 
intricate circumstances and questions arose, gra- 
dually enlarged the code, and provided for both ex- 

VOL. I. M 


traordinary and ordinary situations. Their peculiai" 
form and number, sometimes seventh-one, some- 
times twenty, and at other times only three, toge- 
ther with all their minute allotments and jurisdic- 
tions, may be found in Selden's work De Synedriis^ 
which is an astonishing monument of learning and 

The disturbances related by Josephus, proved 
so destructive of all order, that the heads of the 
Sanhedrim, who were styled the Princes or Pri- 
mates^ became afraid to exercise their functions; 
and criminal jurisdiction, as far at least as implicat- 
ed the punishment of death, was abandoned by 
them to the executive power, and the assembly 
followed their primate to whatever place he retired. 
Thus we find them wandering from the temple into 
Jerusalem; from thence, some time before the de- 
struction of the temple, into Jahney which Selden 
labours much to place in Galilee ; and afterwards 
to many other places until the time of Antoninus 
Pius, when they were at Tebariah or Tiberias. 
After this they lost all power as Sanhedrim, but it 
seems they still kept up the schools, and those in 
Palestine or Judea still regulated the feast of the 
new moon from ocular observation, according to 
the ancient custom, until about A. D. 355, when 
Hillel the second, called Hillel the Prince^ foresee- 
ing the speedy annihilation of the schools in Judea, 
established the calendar, comprising the feasts of 
the new moon, and the arrangement of the equi- 
noxes and solstices, according to the calculation of 
Rab Ada^ who flourished A. D, 243, and which 


hold good to this day. We find the first mention 
of an assembly or school with a primate, but with- 
out any judicial pow-er, except in religious matters, 
about A. D. 219, when D. Ganz states,* that Rab 
going to Babylon, fiaund an assembly there with 
Rab Shiloh at its head ; as likewise one at Neardai, 
or jYaharda, with Shomuel as their primate. He 
therefore ^vent and established the famous school 
at Sura, which is said to be Aram Soba, and which 
Bochart will have to be in S}Tia ; but the situations 
of these places seem to be involved in much ob- 
scurit}'^, as is also tliat of PomheditJm, another fa- 
mous school, and, like the others, the seat of the 
various compilers of the Talmud, f 

An annual, or some other periodical assembly of 
all the heads of these schools or colleges, appears 
to have been occasionally held at Babylon, since 
we find a relation of ceremony and precedence, with 
respect to the seating of the Primate from Sura on 
the right hand of the Prince of Captivit}^ who re- 
sided at Babylon, v.hile the President from Pom- 
beditha sat on the left; and the author of Shalshe- 
leth Hakahalah relates, that the latter ahvays ad- 
dressed the Primate of Sura by the title Rabbi, 
which the other was not obliged to give to the Pri- 
mate of Pombeditha. It was at the college of Sura 

* In his Tsemach David. 

t Cellarius places them in Chaldaea, and on the left bank 
of the Euphrates. — " Judaicis etiam scholis insignei> urbes 
in his alveorum ripis fuerunt Sore vel Sura^ JVaharda^ 
Pombeditha Schephithib, Kufiha." — Patrick's Cellarius, 2d 
edit. p. 101. 


that the Talmud is said to have been completed 
and finished ; and if so, the hypothesis of this place's 
being in S}Tia is groundless, it being known that 
the Talmud is from Babylon; although tliis nasne 
is only attached to it in contradistinction from the 
Jerusalem Talmud, and from its being the subject 
of tradition and study in all the schools of Babylon, 
and rehearsed at the periodical meetings before 

These colleges were destroyed about A. D. 1038, 
when the Jews suffered much from the Saracens, 
&c. since which time we find no formal or regular 
college any where established, but every leiimed 
man, who could collect a number of persons to 
join him, formed a school in any place where they 
may have settled: and Spain, Portugal, France, 
and Germany, as well as Egypt, Arabia, Cyprus, 
and the Greek islands, all possessed schools, and 
produced great and learned men for some time 
afterwards, till superstition, malice, or prejudice, 
banished them. Cordova, Toledo, Barcelona, Lis- 
bon, Narbonne, Troyes, Mayence, Cyprus, Cairo, 
Alexandria, &:c. &c. are likewise said to have pos- 
sessed schools under the auspices of men famous 
for learning and piety; and Frankfort, Prague, 
Hamburgh, Cracow, Furth, and many other places 
in Germany and Poland, now have, or lately had, 

* An establishment was likewise formed in Copenhairen 
in I8(i3, for the instruction ot Jewish youth. It is a species 
of free school, und well endowed; and in the end of the 
year 1805 the number of the pupils was forty. Another 


With regard to their learning, it may be remark- 
ed, that though literature \vas not vefy general 
among the latter Jews, and though an exclusive 
study of profane learning was discouraged, yet that 
its absolute laM-fulness was questioned, as soine 
have asserted, does not appear ; for after the holy 
WTitings, ^^ hich were the primary object of study 
among the learned, the sciences, we are told, 
*' \vere also zealously encouraged ; nay, the law 
positively enacted, that the Sanhedrim should con- 
sist of men who must be acquainted with Geome- 
trj, Mensuration, Astronomy, Physics, Metaphy- 
sics, Anatomy, Medicine, &c.* And the Tal- 
mud, in almost every page, evinces sentiments ut- 
tered by men \vho were very far from novices in all 
the various branches of knowledge of those times. 
The peculiar and very nice distinctions laid down in 
Zeraim,-\ shew great proficiency in agriculture, and 
do no small credit to their mathematical knowledge 
in the geometrical arrangements tliere laid down. 

" Their transcendent wisdom in Astronomy is 
evident from the regulation respecting the feast of 
the new moon, and the regulation of their calendar. 
Their knowledge of anatomy and zootomy is evin- 

school of the same kind, and with the same object in view, 
was lately cstablislicd at Brunswick by M. Jacobson, privy 
counsellor of finances there ; and both these schools, as 
far as I can learn, are yet in existence. 

* Vide Maimonides, cap Sanhedrim. 

t i. e. The first of the six classifications of the Talmud, 
which treats of first fruits and the managements of agri- 


ced in the laws respecting the perfection of animals 
for sacrifice, and the laws of adjudging the per- 
fectness of beasts from their internal structure, 
whereby it was ascertained whether they should 
be eaten or not. And the justness of their judicial 
code is no trifling proof of the excellence of their 
ideas of the principles of jurisprudence." 

Of the great men who have from time to time 
done honour to the Jewish name, my limits will 
permit me to mention only a few : and I begin with 
Rabbi Nathan^ the original composer of the Con- 
cordance, afterwards enlarged and reprinted by 
Buxtorf, who flourished at Rome about A. D. 1070. 
About the same time flourished Rabbi Ebeji Gave- 
ridy an eminent poet, and author of many prayers, 
&c. ; at Troyes or Lunar in France, about 1 100, 
Rabbi Solomon Jarchi^ known among the Jews by 
the anagramatical term Raschi^ the famous com- 
mentator, Avhose works they hold at this day in very 
high esteem; about 1140, "Rdhhi Jehucia Levi^ au- 
thor of the famous Cos?i, translated by the younger 
Buxtorf; in Spain, about 1162, Kshhi Beti Dior, 
author of many works, and particularly of the first 
collection of genealogical traditions, called Scpher 
Hahbalah; about 1153, Aben Ezra, an author 
whose writings are well known; and about 1167, 
Maimonides, a man of the most comprehensive ge- 
nius, as is evident from the number, variety, and 
depth of his writings. Benjamin ofTudela died in 
1173; Kimchi, a most able grammarian, in 1190; 
\hxbh'i Jedaia/iUapenin?, commonly called Badrashi., 


the author of an elegant moral work, entitled Bechi- 
noth Olam^ in 1298 ; Rabbi Isaac Israeli^ a cele- 
brated astronomer and geometrician, in 1310 ; 
Rabbi Abraham Zacut, author of Sepher Juchsin, 
in 1502; and in the same year died the famous 
Abarbanely \\ell known as a commentator, and as 
the author of many other learned v.orks. Elias 
Levita, a \\e\\ known and celebrated grammarian, 
flourished about A. D. 1516; Rabbi Moses Iserlis 
of Cracow, and Rabbi Joseph Caro of Palestine, 
joint authors of the code of Judaic laws and cere- 
monies extracted from the Talmud, called Shid- 
chan Aruchy &c. about 1573; Rabbi Joseph Del 
Medico^ an eminent physician and philosopher, 
about 1640. And in later days, and the present 
age, the Jews can boast of tlie names of Mendel- 
sohn^ Bloch^ Hertz^ Wesscli^ in Berlin and Konigs- 
bergh ; of Mendez^ Israeli., Israel Lyons., Dr. Lou- 
sada., and David Levi., in England ; of F. Mendes 
in Holland; and of Bing and Z. Hurxvitz in France; 
not forgetting the famous Manasseh Ben Israel., the 
principal promoter of their recal into England in 
CromwelPs time. 

Thus have many individuals among the Jews 
distinguished themselves in the walks of literature 
and science ; and many others might be added to 
the list. In the Parisian Sanhedrim, or Convoca- 
tion of the French and Italian Jews at Paris in 1806, 
several of the members seem to have displayed no 
common abilities; and I can readily believe, that, 
Avere such an opportunity given to the British Je^A's, 


they would display equal abilities, and at the same 
time greater orthodoxy.* 

Our best work on the natural history of fishes is 
the production of the late M. Bloch^ a Jewish phy- 
sician at Berlin ; and it ought not to be forgotten, 
that banks and bills of exchange, two of the great- 
est supports of commerce, are of their invention. 

With regard to their conti'oversial \vritings with 
Christians, several Christian fathers addressed the 
Jews with a view to open their eyes to the truth of 
Christianity ; and several answers were returned : 
and in later times, numberless are the works which 
they have published in defence of Judaism, and 
against the Christian religion. The most celebrated 
of these are the Chizzuk Emunah, or Buckler of 
Faith, a ^vork of great ability', and the Toldoth 
Jeshuy a work replete with the boldest blasphemy, 
and held, I am told, in less estimation by the Jews 
than the former. 

These, and some other of their writings against 
Christianity, are collected, and an ample refuta- 
tion of them published, in the Tela Ignea SataiKS 
of Waganseil, Altdorphi Noricorum^ 2 vols. 4to. 
1681. Petrus Alphonsi, an eminent Jew, convert- 
ed in the begiiming of the 12th century, and 
presented to the font by Alphonsus VI. king of 

* I particularly allude to their answers to the questions 
on marriage, and in viewing France as their country. — See 
the miscellaneous remarks on this article. 


Spain, wTote a learned treatise against the Jews, 
wherein he presses them with Numbers vi. 24, 25, 
26, as a plain argument that there are three per- 
sons to whom the great and incommunicable name 
of Jehovah is applied. The Fiigio Fidei of Ray- 
mundus Martini is also considered as a learned 
and powerful defence of the Christian religion, 
against the arguments of the Je\^s ; and though it 
be not free from the literary defects of the times in 
which it was written,* it still presei'ves its reputa- 
tion. The 17th century produced Isaac Orobio, 
who is \\'ell known on account of his conference 
witli Limborch, an able Protestant and Arminian 
divine ; and the dispute between them, published 
by the latter, under the tide of Arnica Collatio De 
veritate Religionis Chnstiance cum erudito Judao^ 
together with the papers published with it, forms 
one of the most interesting and entertaining works 
of controversy, that have appeared upon any sub- 
ject, f See also Hoornbeck Contra Judceos^ Lug- 
dun. Batavorum, anno 1655. Mr. C. Leslie's 
Case of the Jexvs considered with respect to Chris- 
tianity^ is, as may well be expected from his pen, 
an unanswerable little piece against them. Dr. 
Priestley repeatedly addressed them; and although 
he seems to have yielded many points of Chiistiani- 
ty, with a view to engage them to an acknowledg- 
ment of the rest, it does not appear from Mr. D. 

* Viz. the loth century. 

t Published in 4lo, Goudx, ub Hoeve, 1687. "Ouvrage 
cstini^ et reclierche: les Exemplaxres en sont pen com- 
muns." — De Bure. 

VOL. I. N 


Levi's answers to him, that the Jews thought so 
well of his system, as to give him hopes of success. 
In Chapman's Eusebius, Vol. I. p. 530. &c. we 
haA e an account, from Wolfius, J. Scaliger, Kid- 
der, Bayle, &c. of no fewer than twenty-nine Jews 
of talents and credit, converted to Christianity in 
modern times, by an accurate investigation of the 
prophecies. And of the great Esdras Edzardiis 
of Hamburgh, Bishop Kidder, who often corres- 
ponded with him, says, that "he had been an in- 
strument of converting more Jews, including many 
Rabbins, than have perhaps ever been converted 
by any one person in the world since the age of 

Numbers, Countries where found. Res- 
toration, Sec. — It is computed that there are as 
many Jews now in the world, or more than ever 
there were, since they have been a nation. Some 
have rated them at three millions, and others at 
more than double that number. " It is impossible," 
says Basnage, " to fix the number of persons this 
nation is at present composed of. But yet, we have 
reason to believe, there are still near three millions 
of people, who profess this religion, and as their 
phrase is, are ivitnesses of the unity of Godi?i all the 
nations of the world.^'-\[ 

* Demonstration of the Messiah, p. 3 — 197. 263, 264. fol. 

t History of the Jews., Book vii. chap. 33. Tlie author 
of a late work, entitled The Rise, Fall, and Future Resto- 
tionofthe Jews, 8cc. observes, p. 25. that their present 


And who could foretel such a wonderful in- 
crease and propagation of a branch only of one 
man's family, but the same divine person whose 
power could eftect it? It was foretold to Abraham 
that his posterity should be multiplied exceedinti-ly 
above that of others ; that they should be multiplied 
" as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is 
upon the sea shore." 

" And if we compute the number of Jews and 
Mahometans, which are now on the face of the 
earth, (for these last are the descendants from Abra- 
ham by Ishmael, and continue to circumcise them- 
selves as well as the Jews, who are his descendants 
by his son Isaac,) I do not know whether we should 
be much mistaken, if we said that they amounted 
to one tenth part of mankind.^'* But, with all due 
deference to his Lordship's judgment, this calcula- 
tion may be considered as too high ; for there are 
now millions of Mohammedans not sprung from 
Ishmael, whose posterity are chiefly the Arabs. 
Besides, though the Israelites avoided familiar con- 
verse with the Gentiles, yet tlieir religion admitted 

number "is computed to be 3,000,000, one of which re- 
sides in the Turkish empire ; 300,000 in Persia, China, 
India, on the east and west of the Ganges, or Tartary ; and 
1,700,000 in the rest of Europe, Africa, and in America." 
I believe I am not quite singular in my opinion, that their 
whole number at present, excluding the posterity of the 
ten tribes, to whose numbers, state, and situation, we are 
entire strangers, does not exceed 2,500,000. 

* Bishop Clayton's Vindication of the Old and J^enu Tes- 


proselytes; and such there were to it in all ages,*" 
of whom some not only w ere circumcised, but re- 
ceived the whole law, and were esteemed as Jews ; 
and in several instances whole nations became pro- 
selytes, as the Samaritans and Idumasans. These 
last embraced Judaism, being compelled to it by 
Hircanus, after \^'hich they were incorporated into 
the Jewish nation, and ceased to be a distinct people. 

Allowing his Lordship's calculation to include, 
(which it doubtless ought to have done, when 
numbering the descendants of Abraham) the im- 
mense multitudes of Jews who have been convert- 
ed to the Christian religion, from the time of our 
Saviour to the present day, and who, of course, 
with their posterity, have dropt the name of Jews;t 
in that case, it may not perhaps be far beyond 
the truth. The name of Jew has grown, by long 
custom, to be a discrimination of a religion^ ra- 

* In the reign of Aliasuerus,or Ariaxerxes Longimanus, 
the Jews were dispersed throughout all the provinces of 
the Persian monarchy, and many of tiie people of those 
provinces, as we read in the book of Esther, became Jews: 
and indeed, wherever they dwelt, they made many prose- 
lytes to their religion. See Bishop Home's Sermons, Vol. 
I. p. 366. 4th edit. 

t Many Jews of Crete embraced Christiunity in the fifth 
century; and, on arrounl of niu* h cuel treatment, and 
from the fear of worse, upwards of 300,000 consented to 
receive baptism in Portugal in the fifteenth century.^ — For- 
mey's Eccl. Hist. Vol. . p. 27 I. And b-th in Spain and 
Portugal, their children have, in more instances than one, 
been forcibly taken from them and baptised ; a practice 
which surely cannot be justified 

THE JEWS. 101 

ther than of a nation; so that when a Jew be- 
comes a Christian, he is no longer called a Jexv ; 
but it ought not to be forgotten, that he continues, 
after his conversion, to be a descendant of Abra- 

With regard to the countries in which the Jews 
.are found, it may be observed, that the small sect 
of Samaritans are still confined to the countr}^ from 
which they take their name, excepting a few that 
are to be met with in Egypt. As to the Saddiicees, 
see p. 5 1. Very few of the Karaites reside in these 
western parts of the world : they are to be foimd 
chiefly in Poland, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Persia, 
&c. ; but the RabUnists are found all over the 
world, particularly in mercantile towns; for, by 
profession, many of them ha^'e long been usurers, 
and they are now chiefly brokers, and by having 
command of money, they are great promoters of 
trade. By their frugality, industry, and acuteness, 
they generally become rich wherever they settle ; 
and this, together with their multiplication of chil- 
dren, from their many^ing young, they look upon 
as an argument that an exti-aordinar^^ Providence 
still attends them. 

The number of Jews in Judea, hath now, for 
many ages, been inconsiderable, while they swarm 
every where else. Agreeably to the prediction 
respecting them in Deut. chap, xxviii. v. &5. they 
have been so fai- from finding rest, that they have 
been banished from cit\- to cit>-, and from countr\- 


to countr}'. In many places they have been ban- 
ished and recalled, and banished again.* In the 
latter end of the fourteenth century, they were ban- 
ished from France, (for the seventh time, says 
Mezeray) by Charles VI. ; and in almost all coun- 
tries where they have been permitted to reside, they 
have been severely persecuted : yet they thrive un- 
der their persecutions and oppressions, and seem 
even to multiply amidst their distresses ; as if the 
order of things were reversed in regard to them, 
and the same causes operated to the conservation 
of this people, which tend so naturally to the waste 
and destruction of every other. f 

The Turks of the Othman race are now in pos- 
session of Jerusalem, where Turks, Moors, Ara- 
bians, and some Christians of various sects and 
nations now dwell, out of reverence to the place ; 
but very few Jews, and of these the greater part, 
as Basnage says, are beggars, and live on alms. 
" Here be," i. e. in Judea, observes an acurate 
and faithful English traveller, " here be some 
Jews, yet inherit they no part of the land, but in 
their own country do live as aliens."! The Jews 

* For an account of their several banishments, see Bi- 
shop Newton's seventh Dissertation on the Frofihecies. 
t " Duris ut ilex tonsa bip.ennibus 
Nigrx feracifrondis in jilgido. 
Per damna, /icr cteden, ab ifiso 
Ducit ofies animumque ferro." 

HoR. Od. lib. iv. ode 4. 
\ Sandy's Travels, book ill. p. 114. 7th edit. Benjamin 
of Tudela did not find in Jerusalem above 200 Jews, who 

, THE JEWS. 103 

do not reside there, because, say they, when the 
Messiah shall come, the city will undergo a con- 
flagration and inundation, in order to be purified 
from the defilement of Christians and Mohamme- 
dans; but, saysBasnage, the true reason is, because 
there is no trade there, and also the Mohammedans 
look on it as a holy place, and therefore a great 
many Santons, or Turkish monks, and devout 
Mussulmans reside there, and persecute both Jews 
and Christians. 

Thus their land itself seems to lie under a never- 
ceasing curse. Pagans, Christians, Mohamme- 
dans ; in a word, all nations ha\"e by turns seized 
and held Jerusalem and Judea. To the Jew only 
hath God refused the possession of this small tract 
of ground, so supremely necessary for him, since 
he ought to worship on this mountain. 

Their dispersion, and preservation, and present 
state, are remarkable particulars respecting this 
people ; and furnish a strong ai'gument in favour 
of our religion, even in the opinion of its boldest 
adversaries.* They swarm all over die east, and 

were mostly dyers of wool, the monopoly of which trade 
they purchased every year. They all lived together un- 
der David's tower, and made very little figure. In oiher 
parts he found one or two in a city ; in another twenty, in 
others more ; and in many places none at all. — Benjamin's 
Itiner. p. 41. Jerusalem contained 3,000 Jews in 1800 
Gisborne's Survey of the Christian Religion^ p. 118. 

* Lord Chestei field told Lady Fanny Shirley, in a seri- 
«us discourse which he once had with her on the eviden- 


have a settlement, it is said, in the remotest parts 
of China.* The Tm'kish empire abounds \\ith 
them, though tliey there pay, as well as Christians, 
a heavy tax to the Porte, for the right of exercising 
their religious worship : and they are subject to a 
chief of their own nation, called Cochin Pascha., 
whose power over them is said to be even greater 
than that which the Patriarch exercises over the 
Greek Cliristians.f They are spread through most 
of the nations of Europe and Africa, and many fa- 
milies of them are established in America and the 
West Indies : but they are said to be fomid in 
greater numbers at Constantinople and Salonichi, 
and in Holland and Poland, particularly Lithua- 
nia, J than in any other place or country of the 
world. They ai^e calculated at 100,000 in France 
and Italy, and about the beginning of the late war, 
they \\ere computed in Amsterdam alone at more 
than 60,000 souls. They have now five syna- 
gogues in London, § where they are said to be about 

ces of Christianity, that " there was one, which he thought 
to be invincinle, and not to be got over by the wit of man ; 
viz. the firesent state of the Jetvs, — a fact to be accounted 
for on no human principle." — Jones' Life of Bishop. Hornet 
p. 332. 

* Perhaps the best account of those in China, is to be 
found in liroiier's Tacitus. 

t Zimmerman's Political Survey of Europe, p. ult. 

I The Jews were originally a nation of husbandmen; but 
Lithuania is supposed to be the only country in Europe 
where they now cultivate the ground. 

§ Viz. One of those called Portuguese Jews, and three 
of those called German Jews, and one which is a kind of 
Chapel of Ease at Westminster, or in the Strand. Of these, 


16,000; and we are told that upwards of 10,000 
ai'e settled at Algiers. 

There is a colony of them at Cochin^ upon the 
coast of Malabar, " who retain the ti-adition that 
they arriA'cd in India soon after the Babylonian 
capti\ it}\ There are in that province two classes 
of Jews, the white and the black Jews. The black 
Jews are those, who are supposed to have anived 
at tliat early period. The \\\\\X.t Jews emigi"ated 
from Europe in later ages.''* The black Jews, 

the chief is the great synagogue in Duke's Place; in and 
near to which street most of the Jews in London now re- 
side, as formerly in the Old Jewry. When Dr. Tovcy pub- 
lished his Anglia Judaica., in 1738, all the Jews in the king- 
dom did not exceed 6,000 ; and they were then allowed 
synagot^ues only in Lon'Jon, where they had two. Their 
burying place was at Mile End, where, I believe, they still 
bury their dead. 

* Buchanan's Memoir of an Eccles. Establishment for 
British India, p. il7. I here repeat Mr. Faber's question 
in regard to these people. Are we to esteem them «s part 
of the two, or of the ten tribes ? — Besides these, there is in 
the interior of Asia, a nation of professing Moliammedans, 
called Afghavs, or RofiUCas, who believe themselves to be 
of Hebrew origin, and whose belief is corroborated by the 
best historians of Persia; by the circumstance of their 
language being a branch of the Chaldaic, and by a large 
district of their country being called, at this day, Hazaret, 
a word nearly resembling Arsareth, the name of the coun- 
try into which, according to the Apocrypiial Esdras, the ten 
tribes retired. Hence some are inclined to believe it to be 
not very unlikely, that the Afghans are a ieiiin..nt of the ten 
tribes. For further particulars respecting them, see the 2d. 

V0L. I. - o 


now as black as the native i- ^habitants of Malabar, 
whv) are hardly a shade lighter dian those of Guiana, 
Benin, or Angola, consisted formerly of nearly 
80,000 families, but are said to be now reduced to 

A letter was received some years since by a con- 
gregation of Jews in Sclav onia, from some persons 
in Bocharia, in Usbec Tartary, calling themselves 
Jevvs, and requesting some information respecting 
their brethren, with v\hom they ha-se not had any 
communication for many ages : but I have not been 
able to learn whether any answer has been return- 
ed to this letter, nor any further particulars respect- 
ing it. Nor are these the only horde of roving Jews 
to be found in the interior of the vast continent of 
Asia, or the borders of Europe ; and several com- 
munications of the same nature have, from time to 
time, reached Europe from India, China, and Thi- 
bet. Mr. Bruce traces Jews in some guise in Abys- 
sinia; and it has been said that some ti'aces may be 
found of them in the interior of Africa. f Like the 
Gipsies they are every where at home, and yet have 
no vvhere any country thnt tliey can call their own; 

Vol. of the Adatic Researches, or the 1st Vol. of Mr. Fa- 
ber*^ General and C(jnnected View of the Prophecies^ &c. 

* Mr. bryaiit On the Christian Religion, p. 273. The 

Jews assume, by Ienv;th of lime, the peculiar complexion 

^ of every country which they inhabit ; a ( ircumstance which 

tends to prove tie aut' enticity of the Mosaic account of 

the first origin of mctnkind. 

t For some account of those in the Barbary States, &c. 
see Detin Addison's Present State of the Jews, 12mo, 1676. 

THE JEWS. 107 

unless we except Taurida, ^^ here they are partly 
fixed as ancient inhabitants. At tlie time \\ hen the 
Chazares were masters of the Crimea, even some 
of their sovereigns, according to their ti'aditions, 
professed the reHgion of Moses.* They are ad- 
mitted and fixed, but never incorporated with any 
nation under heaven. " Rivers run downwards 
through many outlets to the sea, and are soon blend- 
ed and lost in the ocean ; but the Jews," says the 
venerable Mr. Br}amt, " are like the waters of Sti/x^ 
which remain unmixed, wherever they flow."f 
They are e\'ery ^vhere distinct and unconverted; 
nor will their prejudices against Christianity allow 
them to examine, wnth coolness and impartiality, its 
genuine doctrines ; and though nothing can be more 
clear and express than our best and most esteemed 
UTiters are on the unity of the Godhead, they still 
persist in believing that Christians would destroy that 
unity, and ai'e the direct supporters of Tritheism. 

And, not satisfied w ith having rejected and cru- 
cified the Lord that bought them, they insist, with 
Socinians, that the Holy Ghost is not a person, but 
an energy, operation, quality, or power. 

In all this tliere is no exaggeration ; I am only 
pointing out know n facts. And with regard to their 
dispersion and miseries, far from ha\'ing the least 
design to raise or renew any odium against them on 
these accounts, I conclude with Basnage, " that 
they ought to be looked upon as one of those pro- 

» Tooke's Russia, Vol. II. p. 115. 
t On Scrifiture, p. 41, 


digies which we admire without comprehending; 
since, in spite of evils so durable, and a patience so 
long exercised, they are preserved by a particular 
Providence. The Jew ought to be weary of ex- 
pecting a Messiah, who so unkindly disappoints his 
vain hopes ; and the Christian ought to have his at- 
tention and his regard excited towards men whom 
God preserv'es, for so great a lengtli of Ume, under 
calamities which would have been the total ruin of 
any other people." 

All Jews, say the authors of The Universal His- 
tory., feel the dignity of their origui, recollect their 
former pre-eminence, with conscious elevation of 
character, and bear with indignation tlieir present 
state of degradation, and political subserviency. 
But they comfort diemselves with the hope, that 
their hour of triumph is at hand, when the long ex- 
pected Messiah w ill come, — w ill g-ather them from 
the comers of the earth, — will settle them in the 
land of their fathers, and subject all the nations of 
the earth to his tlu'one. 

While they believe that they shall ever continue 
in the profession of tlieir religion. Christians look 
for their general conversion, and acknowledgment 
of Jesus Christ as the true Messiali : but though the 
conversion of this people has become the immediate 
object of the prayers and exertions of many Cliris- 
tians, and there are some other remarkable signs of 
the times, yet dieie is no great appearance of tiiat 
illustrious event's bemg likely to happen so^n. It 
mu) , however, be expected with confidence, agree- 

THE JEWS. 109 

ably to scripture ; and the time determined in the 
divine counsels, has been supposed by some learned 
men, to be at no gi'eat distance. The fact is clear, but 
the time and manner of that fact are less plainly 
revealed, and, of course, various are the opinions 
that prevail on the subject. 

Most Christian divines suppose that they shall 
be actually called to inhabit their own land, and 
their opinion is well founded on several texts of 
scripture :^ others, as Dr. Dodd, &c. contend, 

* Afiionjj others, see Jerem. xvi. v. 15. Ezek. xxxvii. 
V. 21. 25. and ch ^p. xxxix v. 28. Dr Priestley, in a work 
pu'nlisr.ed in 1800, announced the restoration of the Jews 
in about fil't\ years; but Mr. Faber, in his Dissertations on 
the Frofihi-cies, and in his work just published, entitled, A 
General and Connected View of the Prophecies.^ 8cc. suppo- 
ses that Daniel's grand peiiod of " time, times, and an half," 
(chuj). vii, V. 25. and xii. v. 7.) or 1260 years, will expire 
in 1866: — that the 50 years immediately ucceedin^ that 
era will be occupied in tlie restoration of Judah. and that 
other 45 years will be taken up in that of Israel; — jfter 
■which, i. e. in the year 1941, will commence the reign of 
the Millenium, when Palestine will again be occupied by 
the Jt ws , — when moderii Judaism and Popery, Pai^anism 
and Moh.immecism, will be utterly destroyed, or exchang- 
ed for true and undefiled lelii^ion, — and, when the perse- 
cution Will be exchanged for the triumph of the saints. 
A truly fli.ttering as well us near prospect this, doubtless; 
and happy will ii he for the world when it sholl be reali- 
sed ! But when I say that I admire the pruuent caution of 
the Jews ti.emstlves on the subject of their restoration, 
and consi; er it ;.h most worii.y of imitation, I mean not 
that any maik of disapprobation should be fixed on the well- 
•.neant endeavours of those who have written on this sub- 


that there shall be only a general conversion of the 
Jews in the countries where they respectiA^ly dwell, 
without emigration. 

But whatever may be the manner, and whenso- 
ever may be the time of this grand event — the res- 
toration of the Je\\s — let us, in the mean time, 
strive to abate their sufferings ; let us choose rather 
to be the dispensers of God's mercies, than the exe- 
cutioners of his judgments ; and let us avoid put- 
ting stumbling blocks in their way : and, whatever, 
we attempt for their conversion, let it be in peace 
and love. Let us propose Christianity to them, as 
our blessed Lord himself did, in its genuine purity, 
and without concealing or disguising any of its 
doctrines. Let us lay before them their own pro- 
phecies ; and let us shew them their accomplish- 
ment in the person of Christ ; let us applaud their 
hatred of idolatry ; let us neither abridge their civil 
libert}^, nor try to force their consciences; and, 
above all, let us shew them the religion and morali- 
ty of the gospel in our lives and tempers, by our 
approving ourselves to be " a peculiar people, zeal- 
ous of good works." 

Let it not be forgotten, that theirs was the an- 
cient church of God, and that in their religion, 
although it has long lost its distinctive claims to 

ject, and much less on those of the learned and very re- 
spectable author of the works last mentioned, and now re- 
ferred to, whose modesty, industry, and acquirements, far 
above his years) cannot be too highly applauded. 


divine authority, we may still behold some imper- 
fect traces of the worship ordained from Mount 
Sinai. The glory is, indeed, departed from it, but 
let us at least honour its antiquity, and reverence 
its divine original. Let us remember that the 
Chi'istian chui'ch arose out of it ; that to the Jews 
we owe the oracles of God, the scriptures of the 
New Testament as well as the Old ; that we Chris- 
tians have the same origin with diem; that they 
were our fellow- sufferers under Nero, Vespasian, 
Titus, Doniitiaii, Adriiui, and several others; that 
it has been by means of this one nation of the Jews, 
that the knowledge of the one true God has long 
been preserved and propagated in the world; and 
that all nations that have not been, directly or indi- 
rectly, taught by them, are idolaters at this very 
day : — recollecting these, and other powerful claims 
which they have on our gratitude and respect, let 
us respect even the despised Jew, to whom once 
pertained " the adoption, and the glory, and the 
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the ser- 
vice of God, and the promises : whose are the fa- 
thers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ 
came, who," (be it by them remembered) "is over 
all, God blessed for ever. Amen.'** 

Long have the Jews been a persecuted and in- 
jured body of men; while, on many accounts, 
they are likewise entitled to a very high degTee of 
esteem, from their general character and deport- 
ment. Their charities to the poor of their outi 

* Romans, ix. v. 4, 5. 


communion are immense;* their care to adjust 
theii' differences in civil concerns amicably among 

* Brotherly love, and general charity, have ever been 
characteristics of the Jewish nation; and their peculiar 
isolated situation throughout the world, in the midst of 
strangers, has drawn the bands of affection towards one 
another more close, and caused fraternal love and charity 
to grow, in a manner, inherent in their nature. In every 
part of the globe where they are settled, proofs of this be^ 
nevolent disposition are to be met with ; always in propor- 
tion to their power, but for want of means, not always ade- 
quate to the existing necessity : nor are those proofs by any 
means confined to members of their own communion, but 
often extended to Christians, and others. The Jews in 
England contribute towards the poor's-rates equally with 
the other inhabitants, but their religious rites and their diet 
effectually shut their poor out of Christian workhouses and 
hospitals, and oblige them to provide for them among them- 
selves. This was for a long time no serious evil ; but the 
Jewish population in London, and of course the number of 
their poor, having much increased of late years, some means 
for ameliorating their condition were found expedient ; 
and certain propositions, with that view, were suggested 
by J. Van Oven, Esq. a learned and distinguisjhed mewiber 
of their commimity, in two letters, addressed, in 1801, to 
Mr. Colquhoun, author of the Police of the Metrofiolis. 
And the consequence has been, the erection of a Jews' 
Hospital^ at Mile End, entitled pli* nu J^vy Tsedek, or the 
Charity Workhouse, which was opened in June last year, 
" for the reception and support of aged men and women, 
as well as the education and industrious employment of 
youth of both sexes." They are chiefly indebted for the 
accumulation of a fund, which has laid the foundation of 
this estaljlishment, to the lii)eral and philanthropic exer- 
tions of B. and A. Goldsmid, Esqrs. ; the latter of whom, 
Mr. Van Oven, in his letters to Mr. Colquhoun, (sold by 
Richardsons, Royal Exchange) describes, and I believe 

THE JEWS. 113 

themselves, is edifying ; and let it not be forgotten, 
that if, on any account, they are justly censurable, 
our unworthy treatment of them may have forced 
them into the very acts which we condemn. 

In short, notwithstanding all that can be ad- 
vanced against them, the descendants of Abraham 
have many and powerful claims on our humanity, 
attention, and regard, and for being put on an equa- 
lity with the other subjects of the different govern- 
ments under which they live. They have lately 
made such <;laims, in tlie way, indeed, of solicita- 
tion, and with the oifer of pecuniary compensation 
for the new advantages which they asked, at Frank- 
fort, and in others of the free and imperial cities in 

Their rights, their sufferings, the merits and de- 
merits of their national character, and every topic 
of odium or favour in their historj^, have, in conse- 
quence, become of late subjects of eager literary 

very justly, as "a man who is an honour to his species in 
gener-l, and to his nation in particular," p. 29. — As the 
present funds allow ihe institution to admit on\y Jive merii 
Jive women, ten boys, and eight girls, I need make no apo- 
logy to the reader for observing, that subscriptions and 
donations are received by Assur Keyser, and L. D. Symons, 
Esqrs. treasurers ; Messrs Walfiole and Co. bankers, Lom- 
bard Street ; and /. /. Bing, Esq. secretary, Mansel Streetj 
Goodman';, Fields, London. 

* See, in particular, Jn Imfiartial ExfiositionoJ the latest 
Objections and Re/iroaches brought against Judaism and t/fe 
VOL. 1,1 S 


Miscellaneous Remarks. — According t© 
our Lord's prediction, many imposters appeared, 
assuming to themselves the title and character of 
Messiah.* Josephus takes notice of many such 
in his and almost every succeeding age has 
produced at least one Pseudo- Messiah. Nothing, 
surely, but their firm expectation of a deliverer, can 
account for the Jews allowing themselves to be so 
often deluded ; especially after their rebellions, un- 
der these imposters, had so frequently brought upoa 
them certain and most dreadful destruction. Fic- 

Jeivfi. iS'c. by Aaron Wolfssohn, 8vo, I804 ; and a late work, 
by Mr. T. Wiilierby, emitled, ^'in Attemfit to Remove Pre- 
judices concerning the Jews. — See likewise Afiologie des 
Juifs en reponse a la Question ; Ent il des moyens de ren- 
dre leu Juifs filus heureux et filus utiles en France? Ouvrage 
couronne par la S.>cieie Royalc des Arts et des Sciences de 
Mtaz ParM.Zalkind-Hourwitz, Juif Polonois. Paris, 1789. 
* Nor have thi Jews alv^ays waited for claimants, but 
have gratuitously given the title of Messiah to some, wha 
seemed as little to desire as 10 deserve it. And strange 
surely, and higi)iy unaccountable, must have been their 
ideas of tlie character, who could see such a striking re- 
semblance of it in that of Oliver Cromwell, or of Bona^ 
parte, as to induce them to bestow on them the august title 
of Messiah! How different, how very unlike is their cha- 
racter to thai of Him to whom cilone it belongs ! And whe 
could have supposed that .^ny Jew should have ever, with 
fawning adulation, addressed either of them with an — *' Art 
thou he that should come I 01 look we for vtnother ?" But I 
would spare the fceluigs of iho^e respectable Jews in this 
country, (and many suci' are also to be found, I trust, in 
every other) who b'ush at the creilulity, or the policy, of 
their weaker, or more wii.ked brelnr'^n, and reject, witli in- 
diunation, such suppositious Messiahs equally with our- 

THE JEWS. 115 

tions are usually formed upon realities ; and so, as 
Bishop Newton has well observed, " there would 
not (we may reasonably presume) have been so 
m^nyjaise Messiahs, had not a true Messiah been 
promised by God, and expected by men." The 
history of these false Messiahs u as written by Jo- 
hannes a Lent, and printed at Herborn, in 1697, 
with sufficient vouchers from the Rabbies tliem- 
selves. For some account of them, see also Mr. 
Leslie's Case of the Jews, p. 28., &:c. edit. 1755 ; 
and Dr. Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, 
vol. ii. p. 186., 8cc. edit. 1805. 

The account of a solemn council of the Jew^s, 
assembled in the plains of Biula or Ageda, in Hun- 
gary, A. D. 1650, as given by Samuel Brett, who, 
we are told, was present at the assembly, and drew 
up the narrative contained in the Phoenix, is con- 
tradicted by Manasseh Ben Israel, a contemporary 
Je\v, in his Defence of the Jews, contained in the 
second volume of the Phoenix, p. 401. ; and is sup- 
posed by the authors of Acta Eruditorum,^ and by 
Dr. Jortin,t to be liable to just suspicions; but is 
admitted by the authors of die Modern Universal 
History,X and by Mr. Whitaker, who says, that 
this narrative " caiTies all the mai^ks of autiienticity 
with it, and is very CLirious."§. 

* Acta Erud. 1709, p 104. 

t Remarks on Red. Hist. vol. ii. p. 419. 2d edit.; or p. 
236. r.dii. 1805. 

\ Vol. xi. p. 141 — 143. 

§ Origin of Arianism,, p. 9. Note. A curious account of 
this council may also be seen in Mr. Gregory Sharp's Three 


With regard to the object of this assembly, there 
seems to be no difference of opinion among the 
advocates for its existence, who tell us, thai it was 
to examine the Scriptures concerning Christ,* or 
to determme whether the Messiah were come or 
no. On the other hand, of the existence of a more 
modem SaJihedrim^ or convocation of Jews, I mean 
that held m Paris in 1806, no doubt can be enter- 
tained; while its grand object, or the ultimate views 
of Bonaparte in calling it, are still involved in much 
obscurity ; and the supposed advantages which he 
so pompously conferred upon them, may reasona- 
bly be called in question. As far as yet appears, 
his motives seem to have been, his fondness for 
theatrical pomp, — his extensive system of espion- 
age, — ^his love of money, the douceur of thirty mil- 
lions of livres having been required from them, as 
the price of the honour conferred upon them, — 

Treatises on the Sijntax*and Pronunciation of the Hebrew 
Tongue, p. 74—85, edit. 1804. 

* Many ot them, we are told, would have tiien owned 
our blessed Lord for the Messiah had they i,ot been dis- 
gusted with the representation of Christianity that was given 
them by some priests of the church of Rome, who were 
present at the assembly; and, indeed, t:ie superstition 
which they have beiield in Roman Catholic countrits, and 
the law which was long i\\ force there, by which, on their 
becoming Christians, they forfeited all their estates, on 
pretence that they, or their ancestors, had gotten them by 
usury, have no doubt prevented the conversion of many 
Jews. Whether this law is yet repealed by any bull oftiie 
Pope, I am not able to sny. — Dr. Jou riN s Remarks on 
Eccles. Hist. vol. ii. p. 236. ; and Dean Addison s Present 
State of the Jews, p. 229. 

THE JEWS. ll"? 

and his plans on Egypt and the East, which he is 
well kno\\Ti never to have abandoned, and, with a 
view to which, he may have formed the idea of re- 
establishine the Jews in their own land. 

With regard to them, an opportunity was thus 
given them, which they readily seized, to procure 
the rights of citizenship in countries where they have 
hitherto been despised and cruelly maltreated, as 
"^\ ell as deprived of the liberty of the subject at 
large ; and in this they will most probably succeed. 
Nay, by means of the French Revolution, many of 
the restrictions which they laboured under are al- 
ready removed; and Cologne, and many other 
places in Germany, therein a Jew did not dare to 
shew his face, have been made to open their gates 
and receive them. So far their political state will 
certainly be ameliorated ; but how far their religion 
will retain its purity, is a matter of much doubt, 
from the levity with which some serious points 
seem to have been treated, and the evident over- 
bearing of the majority of the assembly, in answer 
to the questions of marriage, &c. decidedly against 
the sentiments of the few orthodox Rabbles, that 
were members of the Sanhedrim. — " But for the 
sti-ong opposition of the Rabbles the assembly 
would, as far as its authority could have gone, 
sanctioned the marriages of Jews with Christians ; 
nay, in the tumultuous debate which took place on 
the occasion, a member broadly declared, that mar- 
riage had nothing of a divine institution, and that 
the first precept was increase and multiply. Nor 


is this the only instance in which we remark, with 
so^ro^^% that the contagious infidelity of France 
had crept in among the Israelites. In the festival 
of the 15th of August, the cyphers o^A^apoleon and 
o{ Josephine were profanely blended with the unut- 
terable name of Jehovah, and the imperial eagle 

was placed over the sacred ark. The answer to 

the sixth question, by which the French Jews ac- 
kno\vledge France as tlieir country, without any 
restriction whatever, is a still more heinous derelic- 
tion of the tenets of the Mosaic law ; for they give 
up, by it, the hope of the expected Messiah, and 
of the everlasting possession of the promised land 
of Canaan, which they deem a part of the second 
covenant between God and his chosen people."* 


These proceedings, together with the fulsome, 
and frequently most impious, flattery which cha- 
racterises all the productions of that Sanhedrim, 
have, I understand, given much and serious offence 
to the most respectable men of that community in 
these kingdoms ; who observe, that they them- 
selves require no such sacrifices, and view this 
conduct of their brethren on the continent in the 
light it deserves. The same kind of theatrical ef- 
fect, — this illusion of stage trick and decoration, — 
has not, indeed, been given to the advantages 
which they enjoy in this country ; but these advan- 
tages are not for that, the less real, nor the less 
valuable. They here enjoy, in the fullest sense, 

* Mr. K'rwan's Preface to his translation of Tama's 
Paridan Sarihedrim, p. 14, 15. 

THE JEWS. 119 

the free exercise of religious \\'orship, unfettered 
by the degrading interference which is now claim- 
ed by the French government ; and they are ad- 
mitted to the equal participation of ever\' civil right, 
which is essential to the acquisition, or the secure 
enjoyment, of propert}'. The restraint occasioned 
by their not eating any tiling cooked but in theii" own 
way, is a cause of restriction inherent in their reli- 
gion, and mubt attend them where\ er they sojourn 
among strangers : and the restriction, ah extra, 
which still exists, to prevent their becoming free- 
men, and keeping open shop, is confined to Lon- 
don, and a few other to^vns in England. 

Their religion keeps them from taking the test 
oaths, and consequently from public offices, on that 
account only; and there are some obsolete laws 
still unrepealed respecting lands, hereditaments, 
&c. ; but these ; later custom has abrogated. It is 
no doubt fortunate for them, that at the period of 
the Reformation, and some time after, no Jews 
were to be found in England ; as it is probable that 
it was from this circumstance that they escaped 
being included in the penal la^\'s then enacted 
ag-ainst those who still adhered to the church of 



Names. — During the Jewish economy, and 
for the first three centuries after Christ, such an- 
cient nations as were " ahens from the common- 
wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants 
of promise," were styled Gentiles or Heathens; 
the former word derived from the Latin gentes, 
and the latter from the Greek e6»«, respectively sig- 
nifying nations; but ever since the conversion of 
Constantine,* those of the Roman empire who op- 
posed the religion of Christ, and all idolaters to the 
present day, have been more generally distinguish- 
ed by the name of Pagans. As the Greeks and 
Romans looked upon all nations, except their own, 

* Or, according to others, since the reign of Theodo- 
sius the Younger, when the appellation of Pagans was 
given to the inhabitants of the country towns of Italy,— 
" Pagorum incoU Pagani" who retained their ancient re- 

vol.. I. (^ 

122 'paganism 

as barbarians,* so the Jews called all who were not 
of their own nation Heathens^ or Gentiles; and, 
from the gi^'ing of the law, till the propagation of 
the gospel, the Jews and Gentiles divided the world 
between them. 

Rise, Progress, and History. — The Old 
Testament is the only authentic record of the ante- 
diluvian world; and it does not warrant us to say, 
that idolatry was one of tliose enormities which 
determined the great Creator to involve, in one 
common destruction, almost the whole race of 
mankind. The general corruption which then fill- 
ed the world with lust and violence, seems to have 
arisen, chiefly, from an open defiance of the justice 
and power of God ; and the same specific enormi- 
ties, which Avere chiefly practical and moral, con- 
tinued to operate afterwards, together with the de- 
pravation of the great principle of the Divine Unity. 
Soon after the flood, appeared a portentous idola- 
try, which gradually overspread the whole earth. 
Amidst the crowd of imaginary deities, the real 
one soon became almost entirely forgotten; irreli- 
gion, and false religion, divided tlie world between 
them, and wickedness of every kind was authorised 
by both. Even Abraham was most probably, be- 
fore his call, an idolater; — Such, at least, were 

* This insolent appellation, or custom, is to be found 
amoni; tlie Indians to tliis day, who deiiOininate all foreijjn- 
ers Milec/iihasf or infidels. — See Asiatic Researches, Vol. 


some of his ancestors ;* and his father is supposed 
to have been, by profession, a maker of idols : — 
but in him the knowledge of the true God, which 
had been v^'^elI nigh lost, was recovered, and with 
his family and posterity alone preserved for many 
ages in the world. 

The first monument of idolatry seems to have 
been that stupendous tower, which the united la- 
bours of mankind erected in honour of Beliis, or 
the Sun, on the plains of Shinar, about tlie year 
A. C. 2247. Chaldea was the original theatre of 
the most ancient species of idolatry, the worship of 
the heavenly bodies : a delusion which may be ac- 
counted for, in some measure, from their climate, 
and the serenity of their sky, together with their 
occupation as shepherds, which kept them abroad, 
in a wide extent of champaign countr}^ b}^ night as 
well as by day. It may be granted, with Maimo- 
nides and Diodorus, that it was not to the planets 
themselves, but to the spirit which was thought 
to reside in them, to be the soul of them, and to 
direct their course through the expanse of heaven, 
that the Chaldeans, at first, addressed their pra3-ers ; 
but it cannot be asserted, with these authors, that 
the Sabean idolaters had invariably, for the ulti- 
mate object of their addresses to the planetary an- 
gels, the Supreme Creator: No, they gradually 
forgot the Deity, invisible and inaccessible, in the 
dazzling splendour of the orb itself, and in the 
imagined influences dispensed by the flaming 

* Josh. xxiv. 2. 


heralds of the Divinity. The Sun himself became, 
in time, the deity they adored, and the moon and 
stars his ministers and attributes. 

This worship of the heavenly bodies and the 
elements was not only the most ancient, but, in the 
judgment of many, the least blameable species of 
idolatry: "For they peradventure erred seeking 
God, and desirous to find him."* 

But superstition degenerates from bad to worse. 
The further we remove from the source of Poly- 
theism, it evidently becomes the more impure ; till, 
in the accumulated corruptions of many ages, we 
behold, in respect to divine knowledge, the ultimate 
degradation of the human mind. 

Elementary and planet worship was soon suc- 
ceeded, among the Egyptians, who were the most 
ancient civilised nation, by tlie deifying of their 
deceased kings, heroes, and others. Nor did 
their superstition rest here ; for it became so stu- 

* Wisdom, xiii. 6. — " Howbeit, neither are they to be 
pardoned." v. 8. Nor surely is Dr. Young to be easily 
pardoned for this his intolerable hyperbole, when speaking 
of the luminaries of heaven — 

•• So bripht, with such a wealth of glory stor'd, 

*' Twere sin in heathens not to have ador'd." — Last Day, Book I. 

How absurd and profane is it in a Christian writer thus 
to affirm, that idolatry, though of the host of heaven, was 
ever a duty required of the heathen world, and that it was 
sin in them not to pay that divine homage to the works of 
the Deity, which should centre only in himself! 


pidly vile and depraved, as to lead them to wor- 
ship birds, and beasts, and plants ; and not only 
the most noxious beings in nature, but the mon- 
sters and chimeras of the most wild and distem- 
pered imagination. We are told that they had 666 
different kinds of sacrifices, a number surpassing 
all credibility.* This country, the mventress of 
statues, having carried image worship, and its 
subsequent en'ors, to a greater excess than any 
other nation, and having corrupted all others with 
a barbarous Polytheism, was therefore made the 
scene of those miracles, by which the God of Is- 
rael triumphed over idolatry in its strongest citadel. 
The still more imnatural, the sanguinary and in- 
exorable superstition of the republic of Carthage, 
was formed on that of its parent state, the Phoeni- 
cians, " who sacrificed their sons and their daugh- 
ters to the idols of Canaan. "f 

Greece was partly peopled from Egypt ; and the 
Egyptian colonies brought over with them, and in- 
troduced into Europe;, the gross and childish su- 
perstitions of the country from whence they came ; 
and hence, from the fountain, we may form some 
judgment of the stream. The poet Hesiod, who 
flourished about 944 A. C. was the first who re- 
duced the Grsecian idolatry to any appearance of 

* In this number were human sacrifices ; and the vic- 
tims of their cruelty were supposed, from the colour of 
their hair, to be foreigners, and likely the Israelites, during 
their residence in Egypt. 

t 2 Kings, lii. 27. Psalm cvi. v. SB. 


a system; and it would appear that the deities 
amounted, even in his time, to no fewer than 
30,000 ! Among these he includes Heaven, Earth, 
Ocean, Morning, Day, Night, Rivers, Winds, 
Love, Desire, Gracefulness, &c. &c. in one rank 
or other, as deities ; but most of them are deified 
men, to whom was assigned a local jurisdiction. 

The political part of the Greek religion consist- 
ed in the adoration of great men, living and dead ; 
while the interior of it was chiefly confined to the 
oracles and mysteries. The council of Amphic- 
tions presided over religion, and gave it all the 
strength and stability of a national establishment, 
by building temples, endowing them with lands, 
instituting a priesthood, and so combining religion 
with the state, as to make their union permanent 
and inseparable. 

Romulus and Numa were the founders of the 
Roman superstition, which, like the manners of 
the first Romans, was at first remarkably simple ; 
but became conaipted in time by a complication of 
foreign deities, and their various rites. The twelve 
tables had indeed forbidden the introduction of new 
divinities and foreign rites ; and for two centuries, 
the Decemviral laws kept up this salutary restraint; 
but afterwards the general principle of the religion 
of Rome was the same as that of her policy ; for 
she incorporated foreign rites and deities with her 
own, in the same manner as she inroUed the con- 
quered nations in the number of her subjects and 


citizens. It was a relaxation of her morals that 
opened the sluices to this inundation of Polytheism, 
which in the progress of her empire made her the 
common receptacle of all the impostures and su- 
perstitions of the provinces. And the dangerous 
effects of this promiscuous intercourse were often 
such as to occasion the interference of the senate : 
yet, notwithstanding repeated prohibitions, we find 
the Egyptian and Asiatic rites continually practised 
at Rome, and, at last, all religions her denizens. 

The ancients deemed it essential to a religious 
establishment, to have some splendid and impreg- 
nable structure, as the principal seat of its worship. 
This at Rome was the Capitol, at once an assem- 
blage of sacred buildings, and by its works and 
situation, an impregnable fortress. In the '' No- 
titia Imperil^'' 424 temples are mentioned in Rome 
only ; and the deities were so numerous, that one 
sarcastically observ^ed, that there were vaopc^ gods 
than men in Rome ; nay, we are told, that they be- 
lieved the more gods they had, the safer they were, 
a few being not sufficient to protect so great an 

The Roman deities may be distributed into three 
distinct classes. 

The first includes the ancient Celtic or Sabine 
gods, viz. Vesta, Janus, &c. 

2d, The Grsecian gods, introduced by Tarquin 
the First. 


3d, The Roman state deified the virtues and 
passions of the human mind ; and these imagina- 
ry deities were adapted to impress the people with 
veneration for their rehgion and government. 

The Celtic^ Greek, and Tuscan superstitions, thus 
combined in one estabUshment, the Roman rehgion 
made a progress in error and authority, commen- 
surate with the growth and grandeur of the repub- 
lic. It served as a state-engine, and was well adapt- 
ed to the genius of the Romans, actuating a super- 
stitious people to second the ambition of their rulers. 
It was not only protected, but also, in many instan- 
ces, administered by the civil magistrate : it grew 
with the growth of the republic, and seemed to 
promise itself a duration, equal to that of the im- 
perial and " eternal city." 

The ancient Pagan religions of Europe have 
been distributed into five classes. 

1st, The Polytheism of Greece and Rome. 

2d, The Druidical religions of the Celtic na 

' 3d, The Polytheism of the Teutonic and Go- 
thic nations. 

4th, The Paganism of the Sclavonian nations. 

5th, The low wretched superstitions of the more 
porthem savages, the Laplanders, Finns, Green- 
landers, &.C. 

* See a satisfactory account of the Druidical Religion in 
the 1st Vol. of Polivhele's Historical Views of Devonshire. 


The first inhabitants of Gaul and Britain, be- 
ing of Celtic race, followed the Druidical super- 
stitions; while the ancient Germans, Scandina- 
vians, &c. being of Gothic race, professed that sys- 
tem of Polytheism afterwards delivered in the 
Edda^ which contains an authentic epitome of 
Runic mythology, and is a valuable relict of 
northern genius, and at the same time one of the 
most portentous monuments of ancient supersti- 

"The Pagan religion," says Dr. Winder, "de- 
generated into greater absurdity the fuither it pro- 
ceeded ; and it prevailed in all its height of absur- 
dity, when the Pagan nations were polished to the 
height. Though they set out with the talents of 
reason, and had solid foundations of information to 
build upon, it in fact pro^ ed that, with all their 
strengthened faculties, and gi'owing powers of rea- 
son, the edifice of religion rose in the most absurd 
deformities and disproportions, and gradually went 
on in the most irrational, disproportioned, incongru- 
ous systems, of which the most easy dictates of 
reason would have demonstrated the absurdity. 
They were contraiy to all just calculations in moral 
mathematics. "f 

And if we turn to other countries, and more mo- 
dem times, we shall find the religion of Pagans 

* See the EDoDia Sxmundo, Copen. 1787, and M. Mal- 
let's N'orthern Antiquities. 

t History of Knoivledge, Vol. II. p. 336. 
VOL. I. R 


equally iiTational, profane, ridiculous, and absurd; 
— we shall discover nothing that can ensure its vo- 
taries coi-nfort in this world, or happiness in the 
next; — nothing credible and consistent, but strange 
groups of strange beings, 

" Aboitive, monstrous, and unkindly mix'd, 
Gorgons, and hydras, and chimaeras dire." 

The Sanjacks, a nation inhabiting the country 
about Mosul, i. e. the ancient Nineveh, once pro- 
fessed Christianity, then Mohammedism, and last 
of all Devilism. Devil-worship is also not uncom- 
mon among several nations of the East Indies. 
The Chinese have indeed long enjoyed a large 
share of science, and have made considerable pro- 
gi-ess in morals ; their empire seems to have been 
one of the most ancient, and also the last that was 
corrupted by gi-oss idolatry and image worship; 
and their religion contains at this day many excel- 
lent precepts : but reverse the medal, and you will 
now find an idolatry more refined perhaps, but not 
more rational, than that of the western Polytheists ; 
and it is said that in the sti'eets of Pekin alone, there 
are upwards of 3000 childi-en annually exposed.* 

The religion of the Tartars differs but little from 
that of China, except that the Lamas, or Tartar 
priests, worship their deity, the Grand Lama, as 
the grosser Chinese idolaters worship their chime- 
rical God Fo, under the shape cff a young man, 
who tliey pretend never dies. — Throughout Persia, 

* Bishop Porteus' Serm. Vol. I. p. 313. 


and most other countries of Pagan Asia, the wor- 
ship of the elements still pre\'ails. Great part of 
Africa is, in respect to religion, involved in the 
same darkness, in "darkness visible^ and which 
may be felt." And if we turn our eyes towai'ds 
the islands in the South Sea, and the continent of 
America, we shall learn facts that must baffle all 
the reasonings of our modem philosophers, with 
respect to the religious capacity of man. The late 
voyages to the South Sea afford sufficient evidences 
of his deplorable state, without policy, and without 
the knowledge of the true God. Captain Funieaiix's 
narrative* paints the shocking barbarit\' of the New 
Zealanders in 1773. "I still doubted their being 
cannibals," says he, " but we were soon convinced 
by most horrid and undeniable proof.'' The rest 
may be read in that faithful naiTation. The author 
of those voyages was not indeed very attentive to 
the religion of the baibarians whom he visited; but 
his testimony is the niuie uncAcepiionable, as he 
had no system to support ; and it has been remark- 
ed, that he has not once mentioned Christianity' in 
the whole four years of his perilous voyage. The 
wTetched barbarians whom he describes,' are eidier 
sunk into brutal voluptuousness, or savage cruelty ; 
and are universally ignorant and unprincipled, from 
the poor and diminutive race that shivers amidst 
perpetual frosts on the Terra-del- Fuego^ to the in- 
habitant of the sultry regions of the great southern 

* In "Cooke's Voyages towards the South Pole^^* Vol, 
II. p. 256. 


Nor is their condition better throughout Ame- 
rica; and for an account of the magnificent, but 
opposite superstitions of Mexico and Peru, re- 
course may be had to Acosta's Histonj of the In- 
dies, and to the eloquent recital of Dr. Robertson, 
in his History of America, with the remarks. 

" The Americans," says the doctor, " allotted 
the highest place, in their country of spirits, to the 
skilful hunter, to the adventurous and successful 
warrior, to such as had surprised and slain the 
greatest number of enemies, who had tortured 
many of their captives, and devoured their flesh. 
They bury with them their bow, theii' arrows, and 
other weapons, used in hunting or war; they depo- 
sit in their tombs, the skins or stuffs of which they 
make garments, Indian corn, maniac, venison, do- 
mestic utensils. In some provinces, on the decease 
of a caziqiie, or chief, a certain number of his wives, 
of his favourites, and of his slaves, were put to death, 
and ii^terred together ^vith him ! Many of their re- 
tainers offer themselves as voluntary victims."* 

Again: "Religion was formed among the Mexi- 
cans into a regular system, with its complete ti'ain 
of priests, temples, victims, and festivals. The 
aspect of superstition in Mexico was gloomy and 
atrocious ; its divinities were clothed with ten'or, 
and delighted in vengeance. Of all offerings, hu- 
man sacrifices were deemed the most acceptable. 
The manners of the people in the new world, who 

* Vol. I. p. 388. 


had made the greatest progress in the arts of policy, 
were the most ferocious j and the barbarity of some 
of their customs, exceeded even those of the savage 

Thus also did idolatry and superstition, contrary 
to what might have been expected, continue to 
gather strength in the midst of learning and phi- 
losophy in ancient Greece and Rome; and the 
politer ages were addicted to various coiTuptions, 
from which the illiterate ages were free, by their 
keeping more closely to the traditions derived to 
them from the most ancient times. 

These dreadful and sanguinary sacrifices, of 
which both Peruvians and Mexicans are enor- 
mously guilty, form a striking and gloomy simili- 
tude to the bloody sacrifices of the old Scythians, 
Indians, and Druids, as described by Herodotus, 
Porphyry, Mr. Wilkins, &c. ; and indeed of the 
ancient heathen world in general ; for this horrible 
practice of human sacrifices prevailed throughout 
every region of it, to a degree which is almost in- 
credible, and still prevails in many savage coun- 
tries, on which the light of Christianity has not yet 
beamed. We have incontestible proofs of its hav- 
ing subsisted among the Egyptians, the Syrians, 
the Persians, the Phoenicians, the ancient Hindoos, 
and all the various nations of the East. It \^ as one 
of the ciying sins of the Canaanites, — one of the 
causes of their extermination by the hands of the 
Israelites ; who likewise, notwithstandmg the many 

* Vol. II. p. 302.— See the noies p. 59 — 61. 


peremptory and tremendous prohibitions of their 
law, suffered themseh^es to be sometimes draAvn 
into this pre\'ailing and detestable crime, and " of- 
fered up their sons and their daughters unto de- 
vils."* The Thracians, the Gauls, and the Ger- 
mans, Mere strongly addicted to it; nor Avere the 
Greeks and Romans untainted with it. Nay, " no 
climate, no government, no state of civilisation, no 
mode of Pagan superstition, was free from it: — 
even this island, where benevolence and humanity 
have now (thanks to the gospel) fixed their seat; 
this island was, at one time, (under the gloomy 
and ferocious despotism of the Druids) polluted 
with the religious murder of its wTetched inhabi- 
tants.''! But " although they of Peru have sur- 
passed the Mexicans in the slaughter and sacrifice 
of their chiklren^% yet they of Mexico have exceed- 
ed them, yea, and all the nations of the world, in 
the great number of men which they sacrificed, and 
in tlie hoiTible manner thereof. The men thus sa- 
crificed were taken in the xvars ; neither did they 
use these solemn sacrifices, but of captives ; in this 

* Psalm cvi. v. 37. 

t Bishop Porteus' Beneficial Effects of Christianity on 
the Temfxoral Concerns of Mankind, &c. p. 59, 60, where 
the reader will find this melancholy fact shewn more fully, 
and the proper aiilhoriiies produced. 

\ In cases of sickness, Acosta tells us, it is usual for a 
Peruvian to sacrifice his son to Viracocha, beseeching him to 
spare his life, and to be satisfied with the blood of his child. 

Among the Hindoos also, by vvhom human sacrifices are 
still offered, and death is infiicted in various ways in their 
sacred rites, children are sacrificed by their parents to 


they followed the custom of the ancients. In truth, 
the ordinary wars they carried on were only made 
to obtain captives for their sacrifices ; and there- 
fore, when they did fight, they laboured to take 
their enemies alive, for the purpose of enjoying 
their sacrifice.''* 

In the midst of wealth and luxury, and many of 
the polished arts of life, Montezuma, the last em- 
peror of Mexico, offered 20,000 human victims 
every year to the Sun.f 

In Dahnmi, one of the most powerful kingdoms 
of iVfrica, the same savage superstition still exists; 
and our o^^n navigators found it established in 
every new discovered island throughout the vast 
Pacific Ocean. I 

Thus is the history of Paganism little else than 
a confirmation of the truth of the fall, or a history 
of human depravity : and what a picture does this 
present to us of human natm^e unsubdued by di- 
vine gi-ace, and of human reason unassisted by re- 
velation ! What a deep and grateful sense ought it 
to impress on our minds of the infinite obligations 
which we oA\e to God, for the unspeakable gift of 

* Acosta's History of the Indies^ p. 382. — Acosta is an 
author of credit, as is likewise Gemelli Carreri, a late in- 
genious traveller, who insists largely upon this subject, in 
his Account of Mexico. 

t Introdi ctioi) to Mickle's translation of The Lusiad, p. 
7 Note; aid Dr. Robertson's Jmerica, Vol. III. p. 199. 
and Note 31. 

t Captain Cooke's Last Voyage, Vol. II. p. 203. 

136 PAGANIS%r 

the gospel ! for wherever its divine light has broke 
forth, this tremendous demon of superstition has 
di.->appeared; in the Christian world human sacri- 
fices are unknown, and " the land is no longer de- 
filed with blood!" 

Some of the most remarkable events in the his- 
tory cf Paganism, are : — Its rise and first appear- 
ance in Chaldea soon after the flood ; its establish- 
ment in Egypt long before the time of Moses ; its 
introduction into, and flourishing state in, Greece 
before the era of the A\'ar of Troy ; its establish- 
ment in Rome under Romulus, Numa, Tarquin, 
Sec. ; its revival and restoration in Italy, by Augus- 
tus ; in Greece, by Hadrian ; its decline, and espe- 
cially the silence of its oracles soon after the coming 
of our Saviour; the conversion of the Emperor 
Constantine, from Paganism to Christianity, about 
A. D. 320; Julian's ineffectual attempt to restore 
it; and its extinction in the Christian world, i. e. of 
the Roman and Greek idolatiy, after a faint resist- 
arce, about the middle of the sixth century, under 
Theodosius the Great. From the destruction of 
the temple at Jerusalem, heathenism was the only 
established religion in the world for nearly 300 

In later times, we may remark its decline in 
America and the West Indies, ever since the first 
settlement of Europeans there, and especially du- 
ring the first century after the disco> ery of the new 
world; together with the eff()rts that have been 
made of late, to diminish its influence, by the vari- 


eus missions that have been established in ahnost 
all parts of the known world where Paganism still 

For full satisfaction on the subjects of this head 
of the present article, see Maimonides De Idolo- 
latria^ by D. Vossius ; Anthony Vandale's Disser- 
tationes de Origine et Progressii Idololatri^e^ &c. 
Amstel. 1696; Theatrum Ethmco-Idololatricum^ 
with many plates, Mentz, 1699; Selden Z)e Z)m 
Syriis^ by Beyer, 1680; the valuable Pantheon of 
Egypt, by Jablonski, 3 vols. 8^o, 1750; Mr. Bry- 
ant's Observations oyi the Plagues of Egypt ; and 
Dr. A. Youn^^s Historical Dissertation on Idolatrous 
Corruptions in Religion, 2 vols. 8vo. 1734. 

Distinguishing Tenets. — "If we take a 
short view of the Pagan religion, we shall find it 
nothing but a mixture of inconsistency, obscenity, 
vanity, and folly; — little tending to the honour of 
God, or the good of men ; — to the promoting virtue 
and goodness ; to the maintaining justice, peace, 
love, and good order among men ; but rather tend- 
ing to produce the contrary effects. If we survey it 
throughout, we shall find it full of idle, ill- contrived, 
and incredible stories; void of truth or sincerity, 
wit or discretion ; attended with practices foolish, 
lewd, and cruel ; unworthy of human nature, and 
conti'ary to common sense and honesty. Their 
worship directed to very unsuitable, improper ob- 
jects ; — ^to the spirits of dead men, w ho, in their 
lifetime, were vilely enormous, guilty of thefts and 

VOL. I. s 


rapines, murders and parricides, of horrid lusts, 
adulteries, rapes, and incest ; persons that good and 
vvise men would rather hate and despise, than re- 
spect and worsliip. Na}', they worshipped the vilest 
of brute beasts, dogs, serpents, and crocodiles; also 
inanimate creatures, the stars and elements, rivers 
and trees; they dedicated temples, and offered sa- 
crifices, to the passions of our souls, the diseases of 
our bodies, and the accidents of our lives : to adore 
and pay veneration to all m hich, must argue a very 
abject and weak mind. To such objects as these 
they paid their respects and devotion, — in them 
they reposed their confidence. 

" And is it likely such a religion should proceed 
from God, or that it can produce gloiy to Him, or 
benefit to man? What piety towards God? What 
justice, truth, or goodness, towards men? What 
sobriety, purit}', or morality, can we expect from 
such principles and practices?"* 

The Pagans never had any articles of belief; and, 
indeed, with good reason: for how could their 
faith have been fixed, who believed any thing, or 
ever)' thing? And what account could they ha\'e 
given of it, unless it were this, Credo quia impossi- 
bile, i. e. I believe it to be so, Ijecause it is impos- 
sible it should be so? What passed for religion 
among them, and was established by their laws, 

* Dr. Barrow's sermon on Ephesians i. 13 entitled, 
The Christian^ the Fagan^ the Mahometan^ and the Jewish 
Jieligions comfiared. 


and administered by their priests, neither taught 
any scheme of doctrines necessary to be believed, 
nor held forth a code of laws, or rule of moral dut^^^ 
for regulating and directing the practice. It con- 
sisted properly in the public rites and ceremonies 
to be observed in the worship of their deities. They 
all believed in a revelation ; and one great medium 
of commmiication M-ith theii' deities was through 
their oracles, whose credit was supported, partly by 
the art and knavery of v/icked and designing men, 
and pardy, as some think, by the influence of evil 
spirits, whom God might then have permitted to 
impose upon weak, credulous, and ignorant mor- 
tals. The answers made to those who consulted 
them, were uncertain and mere conjectures, and 
therefore doubttul, accidental, or false. They were 
generally expressed in ecjuivocal terms, as that given 
to Pyri'hus by the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, 

jiio iCy JEacida, Romanos vincere posse ; 

which may be understood either way, — I say that 
thou, ^acides, may conquer the Romans ; or, that 
the Romans may conquer thee, i^iacides : as also 
tliat made to Croesus, king of Lydia, that, when he 
went over the river Halys, he would overthrow a 
great empire; \^hich happened to be his own, 
thousch he Linderstood it otherwise. 

The wisest and best of the heathens, and, ac- 
cording to some, the ancient Pagans in general, 
ovrned but one supreme God, though the}' had 
many inferior and subordinate ones, as intercessors 


and mediators. The first idolaters, after the know- 
ledge of the true God \\ as obscured in their minds, 
looked on tlie heavenl}' bodies, and other creatures 
of God, perhaps merely as proper emblems of the 
Deity, and therefore gave them the divine title and 
attributes, by ^^ay of honour, and to be a perpetual 
memorial of the great and true benefactor; but such 
was the reverence w hich they paid to these, that, in 
process of time, they forgot the hand by which 
these things were framed, and preserved; and look- 
ed upon the immediate means and support of life,, 
as the primary efficient cause, to the exclusion of 
the real Creator. It is highly probable that, at first, 
they supposed the creatures which they held sacred^ 
to be emblems or representations of certain qualities 
in God, or means of conveying them, as the sun, 
the light, the ox, &:c. of benejits; the serpent of 
vengeance; and meant only, through these, to ho- 
nour and worship the Creator: but there cannot be 
a doubt that, afterwaids, theii' worship terminated 
in the idol before them. 

Thus was the only true God abridged of the ho- 
nour due to him, and to him only, and at last banish- 
ed from the hearts of most of his reasonable crea- 
tures ; for, when a blind reverence began to be paid 
to the creature as a symbol, and representative, it 
degenerated quickly into a lower and more vile 
idolatry : the primary object being lost in its em- 
blem, and the Deity supplanted by the substitute.* 

"Quaeelipno, vel lapide similive materia constorent 
non venerabantur ut Dcos, sed ut divinae bonitatis ac po- 


The religion of the vulgar was founded chiefly 
on the fictions and mere fancies of the poets ; and 
that of tlie state may be considered, for tlie most 
part, as a medium between these and the more re- 
fined speculations of the philosophers. The poets 
represented many of their gods like the worst and 
basest of men : gods partial, changeable, passion- 
ate, and unjust ; whose attributes were rage, re- 
venge, cruelty, and lust; and they taught, that the 
only \\'ay to please Bacchus, Venus, &c. was to act 
like themselves, in tlieir worship. 

Whatever difference of opinion may have pre- 
vailed among speculative men, concerning the spe- 
cific nature and essence of the soul, yet, if we ex- 
cept Anaximander, Democritus, and their follow- 
ers, almost all Pagans, learned and unlearned, ci- 
vilised and savage, ancient and modeiTi, have been 
found to agree in believing, that man is a com- 
pound being, consisting of two separate substan- 
ces ; and that the human soul is a substance in it- 
self, actually distinct and sepaiate from the body. 

Even those philosophers who supposed the soul 
to be material, yet unifomily held it to be a sub- 
stance distinct from the body. They supposed it 
to be air, or fire, or harmony, or a fifth essence ; or 
something of a finer, purer, more etherial texture, 

tentise signa. Sed paulLtim, ut ostendimiis, viilgi stvipore 
rucigis gliscente, saepe eti im ..(<etitnte sacei-'iotuni avari- 
tia ac doll), msi piius f r» uymbolicus^ iiroprius esse cuUus 
ccepit." — Vossius De Idol. lib. 9. 


than gross matter : and many of them conceived it 
also to be immortal, or capable of becoming so.* 
And so general a suffrage of almost the whole hu- 
man race, Pagans, as well as Jews, ChristiLuis, and 
Mohammedans, in favour of this opinion, is surely 
a very strong presumption of its truth, according to 
that maxim of Cicero: " Omni in re consensio 
omnium gentium lex natura; putanda est."f 

Pagans of all ages and nations have been equal- 
ly unanimous in entertaining some notions, how- 
ever imperfect and confused, of the existence of 
the soul after death. 

With regard to the ancient heathen, we have the 
testimony of Cicero himself,f that there was an 
universal agreement of ail people upon the earth, in 
this great point; and he makes this common con- 
sent one of his chief proofs of the immortality of 
the soul. 

And from his time to this, amidst all the dis- 
coveries diat have been made, in ever}^ part of the 
globe, there has never yet, I believe, been found 
one single nation, however savage or barbarous, 
that has not had some apprehensions, or suspicions 
of another state of being after this. The immor- 
tality of the soul is believed by all the savage tribes 
of America, from the one end of that immense con- 

* See Bishop Porteus' 1st Sermon on St. Mauhew xxv, 
46. in the first volume of his Sermons, 
t Tuscul Quxst. lib. 1. \ Ibid. 

^ND PAGANS. 143 

tiiient to the other. The happy regions of the 
Thracian,* the elysium of the Greeks, and the 
pleasant mountains of the Indians, all agree in one 
common principle, the continuation of our being 
after death, and the distribution of certain rewards 
and punishments in another life. Yet, if we exa- 
mine the notions, both of the ancient heathen, and 
of our modem Pagans, concerning the length of the 
soul's duration after death, and the nature of a fu- 
ture retribution, we shall find so great obscurity, 
uncertainty, and confusion, with such a strange 
mixture of the most absurd and fabulous ima- 
ginations, that we need not be surprised at their 
producing little or no effects upon their hearts and 

Some of the ancient heathen philosophers, al- 
though they believed the existence of the soul after 
death, yet denied that it would exist for ever.-f 
Others admitted its eternity, but did not allow that 
it passed into a state of rewards and punishments, 
supposing that it would be resolved into the univer- 
sal spirit from which it was originally detached. 
And even of those who acknowledged a future re- 
tribution, many asserted, that the punishments only 
were eternal, the rewards of a temporary nature. J 

* See Herod, lib. iv. p. 252. edit. Gronov. 

t « Stoici — cfzM mansurosaiuntanimos, semper negant." 
— Tuscul. QucSftt. lib. i. c. 31. 

\ Warbuiion's Div. Leg. vol. ii. p. 199. On the other 
hand, the notion of future punishments seems to have been 
generally discarded among the Greeks in the time of Poly- 
bius, i. e. about 130 years A. C ; and though it was beliey- 


They generally placed a future state on a ■wrong 
foundation, as on the pre-existence of the soul, 
&c. ; many of them likew ise believed in its trans- 
migration, a docti'ine intimately connected with the 
former: and though they might believe in a future 
state, they could not properly be said to hope for 
it, Hades being represented by Homer, and even 
by Plato, in his Cratijlus^ as a dismal and gloomy 
abode ; justly, therefore, does St. Paul give it as 
the character of the heathen in general, that they 
were " without hope."* 

" Look into the writings of the ancient philoso- 
phers, respecting a future retribution, and, (with 
few, if any^ exceptions,) you see nothing but em- 
barrassment, confusion, inconsistence, and contra- 
diction. In one page you m ill find them expatiating, 
with apparent satisfaction, on the arguments then 
commonly produced for the immortality^ of the soul, 
and a state ofrecompence hereafter; answering the 
several objections to them with great acuteness; 
illustrating them with wonderful ingenuity and art ; 
adorning them with all the charms of their elo- 

ed amons^ the Romans in the most ancient times of their 
state, it was afterwards rejected and disregarded, even by 
the vulp^ar. See Polyb. Hist. lib. vi. cap. 54. 55. ; and Ci- 
cero's Oration/or Cluentius. — So different was this heathen 
idea of a future state from that given in the gospel, that 
one cannot help being at a loss to conceive, how Mr. Gib- 
bon could fix on the Christian d(jctrine on this head, as one 
of his five grind causes to which the quick increase of 
Christianity was to be attributed. 
* Eph. ii. 12.; 1 Thess. iv. 1?. 


quence ; declaring their entire assent to them ; and 
protesting, that nothing should ever wrest from them 
this delightful persuasion, the very joy and comfort 
of their souls. In another page, the scene is totally 
changed : They unsay almost every thing they had 
said before. They doubt, they fluctuate, they de- 
spond, they disbelieve.* They laugh at the popu- 
lar notions of future punishments and rewards, but 
they substitute nothing more rational or satisfactory 
in their room. Nay, what is still more extraordi- 
nary, although they all acknowledged, that the be- 
lief of a future life, and a future recompense, was 
an universal principle of nature, — that it was what 
all mankind, with one voice, concurred and agreed 
in, — yet, notwithstanding this, many of them seem 
even to have taken pains to stifle this voice of nature 
within them ; and considered it as a victory of the 
greatest importance, to subdue and extinguish those 
notices of a future judgment, which. In despite of 
themseh'es, they found springing up within their 
own breasts.^t 

The Celtic religion, as it prevailed in our Sa- 
viour's time, is well described in the 15th chapter 
of the 6th book of Ccesar's Commentaries. The 
Celtic nations were the conquerors of the Western 
Empire ; and, on their embracing Christianity, they 
inti'oduced into it many of their o^vn religious opi- 

* TuscuL Quxst. 1. i. c. 11. 

t Bishop Porteus' 3d Sermon on St. Matth. xxv- v. 46* 
p. 157, 8cc. 

\ OL. I. T 


nions, and laid the basis of llie Papal religion. 
"The Papal impostiire,*' says one,"^" " is no other 
than Christianity debased and paganised by Celtic 

The ancient heathens extended toleration to all 
religions, e\ en the most absurd, not simply as they 
gave no disturbance to government, but as they 
amical)!}- associated \\\t\\ each otlier; but as Jews 
and Christians would not return the comjiliment, 
and think equally ^^ell of tlie Pagan systems, 
diough the Jcavs often met with great indulgences* 
they were bodi universally stigmatised for the un- 
social a:enius of their rclitrious tenets, and as enter- 
taining an odhmi humani genei'is, an hatred of all 

For some account of ancient heatlien morals, we 
need look no farther than to the 1st chapter of St. 
Paul's Epistle to die Romans, where we ha^'e a 
long catalogue of the blackest sins, that human na- 
ture, in its lowest state of depra\ation, is capable of 
committing ; and that so perfect, that there seems 
to be no sin imaginable, but what may be reduced 
to, arid comprised under, some of diose which are 
there specified. And, indeed, where Vice was 
consecrated, and had temjiles, it is but natural to 
suppose diat the worshippers would be deeply 

* Mr. Apiliorpe, in liis Lcttrrs Dr. Middlcton also 

deduces llic idolatry of the cliurcli ol Rome from Paganism. 


They did not pretend, that their gods dehvered 
moral precepts, or offered motives to the practice 
of them ; nor did the duty of the Gentile priests 
require them to inculcate sobriet}, purit}% justice, 
or the social virtues. St. iVugustine denies, that 
the heathens ever appointed instructors to deli\'er 
moral precepts in the name of the gods ; and chal- 
lenges unbelievers to point out the places where 
such precepts were read, or heard, by the people.* 
The best system of heathen morality is Cicero's 
Book of Offices^ yet still it is an imperfect system. 
In representing the order of duties, he does indeed 
place those relating to the gods in the first place, 
before those M'hich we owe to our country, and to 
our parents; yet it is observable, that he very slight- 
ly passes over the duties relating to the Divinity; 
and though, in a few instances, he makes mention 
of the gods, he takes no notice of the one Supreme 
God. Nor does he draw any arguments or motives 
to enforce the practice of duty from the authority 
and command of God, but merely from the beauty 
and excellency of the Honestum, and the evil and 
turpitude of vice. The Stoics, it is true, gave pre- 
cepts of piety, and such as \\ ould have been deem- 
ed excellent, had they been directed not to the 
gods, but to the one true God; so just is Mr.. 
Locke's obser\'ation, that "the philosophers who 
spoke from reason, make not much mention of the 
Deity in their ethics."! 

* De Civil. Dei, ii. 56. 

t Reasonableness of Christianity, in his works, Vol. II. p.- 
534. 3d edit. 


In short, what wretched ignorance of most evi- 
dent, and what strange behef of most absurd, 
things, in religion and morals, do the voluminous 
records of idolatry and polytheism, now remaining, 
shew to have prevailed, for successive ages, tlirough 
heathen nations, knowing and learned in other re- 
spects, but untaught in these ? To say the best of 
them, their piety, the first article of human duty, if 
they had any, (for several of their systems of philo- 
sophy were inconsistent with, or unfavourable to it,) 
was gTossly idolati'ous : their love of their counti'y 
was greatly injurious to their neighbours; espe- 
cially to those whom they were pleased to call bar- 
barians : most of them A\'ere polluted with unlaw- 
ful, some with unnatural, lusts ; and none of them 
ever shewed that humility of heart, and deep sense 
of imperfection and sin, which belongs to the very 
best of human creatures. 

After reviewing the faith and practice, not of 
barbarous only, but of polished and philosophic 
nations, in a state of Paganism, the reflection 
must naturally occur, — that either mankind liavc 
discovered a religion worthy of God and man; 
or, such a religion is not discoverable by human 
reason. "To ascertain the fact, let the learned 
and inquisiti\'e examine all die histories of man- 
kind, either in their barbarous or polished state : 
let them explore all the pretended but unevidenced 
revelations, — the Vedam (i. e. the sacred code 
of Indostan); the Zeud-avesta (i. e. the Persian 
code) ; the Sadder (a compendium of the Zend- 

, AND PAGANS. 149 

avesta); the Koran; the mysteries, oracles, and 
religions of Gentilism: let them disembroil the in- 
tricacies of philosophy, Grsecian and Barbaric ; 
and peruse the recital of li^^ing manners in ancient 
or modem travellers : hath there ever existed 
among them all, a religion, in which a wise and 
virtuous man can acquiesce ? or, does the history 
of the human mind present us with any other spec- 
tacle, than of gross superstition, absurd Polythe- 
ism, monstrous idolatry, obscene and barbarous 
rites, savage sacrifices, religions destitute of mo- 
rality, atheistic philosophy, and, in the best view, 
much falsehood imd imposture, blended with a 
little truth, the immortal offspring of the Father of 
our spirits? The conclusion is evident: — either 
we must live and die without paying due homage 
to the God of the universe; or we must be taught 
by Himself how to serve Him acceptably."* 

Worship, Rites, and Ceremonies. — The 
worship which was established in the heathen 
world, was not merely absurd; it was impious in 
the extreme. It was debauched by an idolatry, 
Avhich had a multiplicity of the most execrable 
divinities for its objects. The gods of the heathen, 
who, at best, were but just lifted above humanity, 
were in a thousand instances sunk below it, b}' 
crimes that were a disgrace to nature, and by cruel- 
ties that would shock even the most barbarous sa- 
vage. Yet to these they offered up theii* prayers 
and supplications, looking upon them as the dis- 

* Apthorpe's Letters^ p. 351. 


pensers of worldly blessings, or the inflicters of 
evils and calamities : whilst the supreme and uni- 
versal Lord was, in a great measure, neglected, 
even by those a\ ho had some notion of the one Su- 
preme Deit}', because they supposed him too far 
above them to concern himself with their affairs. 
Even the philosophers in general encouraged the 
AVorship of a multiplicit} of deities; and, Avith res- 
]5ect to the paiticular rites of worship, they referred 
tlie people to the decision of oracles, and to the 
laws of their respecti\ e countries. And those rites 
which policy had consecrated to their altars, and 
which ignorance revered a\ ith stupid admiration, 
frequently degenerated into scenes of madness, las- 
civiousness, and cruelty. Their worship consisted 
in the consecration of temples; in adoration, or 
kissing the statues and idols ; in embracing their 
knees, placing written prayers upon them, putting 
crow ns on them, decking them m ith flowers, burn- 
ing incense to them, and caiTying them in solemn 
state through public places ; sometimes in boA\ ing 
the head, sometimes in bending the knee ; some- 
times in lx)wing or prostrating the whole body, and 
sometimes in kissing their own hand, if they could 
not reach to kiss the idol;* in creeping up the 
steps of the temples ;t in supplications or public 
thanksgivings; in festivals, usually attended with 
magnificent spectacles, rarely m public fasts ; in 
sacrifices, sometimes of human victims ; and, last- 
ly, in public and pri\ ate prayers. 

* See Job xxxi. v. 26. 

t crept thus on his liands and feet up the 100 
steps of the Capitol. 


The objects of this their worship were — the 
earth, that nourished them — the air, that refreshed 
them — the sim, that enHghtened them — the moon, 
that directed their steps in the obscurity of the 
night — the fire, that warmed them — the heroes, 
that cleared the woods and forests of lions and ser- 
pents that annoyed them — the conquerors, that de- 
Hvered them from tlieir enemies — the wise and 
generous princes, who rendered their subjects hap- 
py, and the memory of their reigns immortal ; 
altars were erected at Athens, " to the unknown 
God;" gratitude deified benefactors, and extraor- 
dinary powers laid the foundations of temples, and 
swelled the catalogue of false gods. In a word, 
all the reins were slackened, and the most abomi- 
nable crimes honoured with priests, altars, and 
temples. Public worship became a public prosti- 
tution. Incest, impurity, drimkenness, hatred, 
and pride, were deified under the fictitious names 
of Jupiter, Juno, Venus, Bacchus, &c. and crimi- 
hal gods were worshipped with crimes. 

Of their devotions, and the sentimental part of 
Paganism, we have memorable traits in the wri- 
tings of seme of their best philosophers.^ Cicero, 
in a CiirioiiS passage,! expresses the general sense 
of antiquity on tills point. But from all that v» e 
can collect on the subject, it would appear, that the 
ordbiaiy subject of the Pagan prayers Avas merely 

* See Plato's second .4lcibiades, nnd the other writers of 
the Socratic achoo!; us also Persius and Juvenal. 
t Be A'at. Deor. 3. 36. 


external prosperity, or what are called the goods 
of fortune ; together with the surprising folly, 
which the satirists well expose, of asking success 
and concealment to their crimes. Cotta in Cicero, 
as above, testifies, that they never, or but seldom, 
prayed for w^isdom or moral virtues, conceiving 
that for obtaining these, every man was to depend 
only on himself.* 

" From a survey of the devotions of the Gen- 
tiles, it will appear," says Dr. Jortin, " that, some 
instances excepted, there was notliing spiritual in 
their prayers, no thanksgiving, no request for di- 
vine assistance in the performance of their duty, 
no pious sorrow and acknowledgment of theii' of- 

After the proi)agation of Christianity, we in- 
deed find forms of adoration in some Pagan wri- 
ters, that are more rational and spiritual than the 
old prayers and hymns of their ancestors ; but it 
is generally supposed, that these improvements 
arose from the Gospel. Yet Maximus Tyrius, who 

* With this passage of Cicero may be compared that of 
Horace in his E/nntleS) lib. i. ep. 18. 

•' Hoc ssitis est orai-e Jovc;m, qux ponit ct aufcrt; 

" Det vitain, det opes ; a;qimin mi aniinum ipse parabo.'' 

Some of the philosophers were for praying for good 
things in general, but not for any thing in particular; 
others were only for mental but not vocal prayer ; and 
others, like sonve of our modern Deists, were against pray- 
ing at all. 

t Dis-courses, p. 243. 


flourished about the middle of the second century, 
taught with the Epicureans, and as some have done 
of late, that prayer to God was superfluous.* 

The duty of man is three-fold — to God, to his 
fellow-creatures, and to himself. The Gentiles had 
juster notions of the duty of man to mankind, and 
to himself, than they had concerning his duty to 
God. . 

Cicero, I think, passes over this important part 
of human duty in his book of Offices, with merely 
touching upon it.f They seem to have known 
nothing of that sublime and evangelical doctrine, 
the love of God. " We never hear them urging the 
love of God," says the late pious and excellent 
Bishop of London, " as a necessary part of human 
duty, or as a proper ground of moral obligation. 
Their religion, being i.ierely ceremonial and poli- 
tical, never pretended to reach the heart, or to in- 
spire it with any sincerity or warmth of affection 
towards the Deity. Indeed, how was it possible to 
have any love for such gods as they worshipped: 
for gods debased with every human weakness, and 
polluted with every human vice ? It \A^as enough 
surely to make the people worship such a crew. 
To have insisted on their loving them too, would 

* The reader may see the arguments of this author, and 
©thers, against the duty of prayer, well answered in Dr. 
Benson's tract on The End and Design of Prayer. 

t " Decs placatos pietas efficiet et sjinctitas."'-*"B, 2. 3, 

VOL. I. V 


have exceeded all bounds of modesty and common 


But the national religion of the Heathen, and 
their idolatrous worship, as established by their 
laws and customs, and received by the vulgar, was 
so strange, absurd, and inconsistent, besides its 
A'ariety in different countries, that it is no easy mat- 
ter to give an account of it. It seems to have been 
founded on this supposition among others; that 
their gods only expected to have magnificent tem- 
ples built for them, adorned with rich gifts, statues 
erected, and sacrifices offered to them, hymns sung 
in their praise, persons dedicated to theu' service, 
feasts and solemnities kept in honour of them, and 
that whosoever paid them such outward , respect 
was religious ; so that with them religion and virtue 
were two different things. Add to tliis, that some 
of theii- solemn rites consisted in cruel, impure, or 
highly indecent actions. 

" Their oracles ; their auguries and their sacri- 
fices ; their public spectacles, and splendid games ; 
yea, the whole apparatus of Pagan superstition, 
^vere the engines of political t}Tanny, and of popu- 
lar delusion, and barred all access to the entrance 
of truth, freedom, purity, and simplicit}'."| 

They had no public discourses, like our sermons, 
for the instruction of the people in the principles of 

» Sermj s, Vol.1, p. 1, 2, 

■\ Dr. White's £am/u Led. p. 139. 


religion, and for exhorting them to the practice of 
piety and virtue : a defect this, of which the em- 
peror JuUan seems to have been sensible, and 
which he intended to redress. 

" The priests," as Mr. Locke observes, " made 
it not their business to teach men virtue."* Their 
office was, according to the account \\ hich Varro 
gives of it, — to instruct men what gods they were 
to worship, — what sacrifices they were to offer to 
their several deities, and to direct them in what 
manner they were to observe the appointed rites. 

The famous author of Tfie Decline and Fall of 
the Roman Empire^ remarks, and perhaps with 

* To the same purpose Laciantius observes, that those 
who taught how to worsliip the gods, gave no directions ds 
to what related to the regulation of men's manners, and the 
conduct of life. " Nihil ibi disseritur, quod proficiat ad 
mores excolendos, vitamque formand .m." And that amung; 
the Pagans, philosophy or the doctrine of morals, and the 
religion of the gods, were entirely distinct, and separated 
from one another. " Philosophia et religio deorum dis- 
juncta sunt, longeque discreta." — Divin. Instit. lib. iv. cap. 
3. See also Augustin. De Civit. Dei. lib. ii. cap. 4. 6. and 7. 

The priesthood was not incompatible with the functions 
gF civil society ; the priests in Greece had a revenue annex- 
ed to their office, — they formed no separate body in the 
state, and far from possessing any jurisdiction, or being 
capable to direct the morals of the people, they were even 
ignorant of the business in which religion and good morals 
were most interested. See Eclair cissemtns generaux sur 
les families sacerdotales de la Grece, par M. de iiougain- 
vilie, in Jcad des Bell. Let. Tom. 23. mem.; and another 
memoir on the same subject, and by the same author, in 
Tom. 18. mem. 


some truth, tliat "the -various modes of worship 
which preAuiled in the Roman world, ^\■ere all con- 
sidered by the people as equally tnie ; by the phi- 
losopher, as equally false ; and by the magistrate, 
as equally useful.^'''* From which it would appear, 
that the \\isest men of those days, wiser far thiui 
some of later times, thought some religion to be 
necessary; that any form of worship was better 
than none ; and that till a better was discovered, 
which some of them earnestly sought for, it v\ as a 
piece of wisdom to countenance, or at least not to 
f/wcountenance, the established religion of their ^ 
country. This seems to be the best excuse that 
can be made for them. But an excellent poet, 
though a wretched divine, of our 0A\n, cannot sure- 
ly be so readily excused, who goes beyond even 
the heathen in his sentiments, and seems to think 
that all rites, however base, and all idolatiy, how- 
ever gi'oss and shocking, related ultimately to the 
Avorship of the one true God, as may i:)e seen in the 
first stanza of his celebrated Unwei'sal Prayer^ or 
Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer. f 

" It must hurt a truly pious mind,'' says the late 
venerable Mr. Bryant, speaking on this subject, 
"to see the Creator of all things, tlie everlasting 
God, Jeho\'ah, brought upon a le\el with Jupiter 
and Baal, (\vho is the same as Lord,) and (as \\q 

* Chap. ii. p. 29. 

t " Father of all, in cv'ry age, 

In ev'ry clinie ador'cl, 
By saint, t)y savuge, and by sage, 
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord." 


find intimated) with all the foul and horrid deities 
of the Pagan world. Who would imagine, that 
the God of all purity and holiness could be repre- 
sented not only by Jupiter, Bacchus, and Vulcan, 
but by Pan and Priapus, by Baal-Peor, and Mo- 
loch, and by all the monsters of Egypt, and of the 
most savage nations; that their rites were his rites; 
and their mad orgies performed to his honour? Yet 
these notions Mr. Pope recommends. Thus has 
this excellent poet sacrificed truth to rythm, anti- 
thesis, and an affected alliteration."*" 

The adoration of living princes originated in the 
East, and was an effect of the Asiatic despotism.f 
Alexander transferred this impious folly from Per- 
sia to Greece ; and his arrogant successors, both in 
S}Tia and in Egypt, assumed the same honours. 
During the existence of the Roman republic, a new 
species of deification arose, I mean the proconsular 
Apotheosis. The conquered provinces carried 
their adulation to such an heighth, as to erect altars 
and temples, and celebrate festivals, in honour of 

* On the Truth of the Christian Religion, p. 15. So little 
Mere the primitive Christians of Mr. Pope's way of think- 
ing on this subject, that they looked upon the name of 
Jupiter as so contaminated and polluted, that they would 
rather endure the greatest torments, ihan make use of it to 
signify the one true God. There is a remarkable passage 
of Oiigen to this purpose, in his fifth book against Celsus, 
p. 262. edit. Cantab. See also lib. i. p. 29.; and Divin. 
Instit. lib. i. cap. 4. p. 63, edit. Lugd. Batav. 1660, where 
Lactantius also treats it as a great absurdity to give the 
name of Jupiter to the one true God. 

t See the book of Daniel. 


their proconsuls, whom they associated in the reli- 
gious worship paid to the gods of the republic. 
" Even to our time," says Plutarch, " there is a 
priest of Titus,* formally elected : they sacrifice to 
him as to a god; and when the libations are over, 
they sing a paean made on purpose for the occasion." 

Nay, even Cicero, on the death of his amiable 
and accomplished daughter, seriously intended her 
deification ; and the insolence of the emperor Cali- 
gula, in wishing to place his own statue in the tem- 
ple at Jerusalem, as an object of divine honours, 
was the progressive extreme of this impiety. But 
the Jews, as may be supposed, would give no coun- 
tenance to such abominable wickedness. So obsti- 
nately did they resist the proposal, that they ob- 
served to Petronius, governor of S}Tia, who was 
charged to execute the emperor's wishes, " if Caesar 
must needs place his image in the temple, he must 
first kill us all, with our wives and children."! 

From the 18th chap, of the 1st book of Kings, 
we learn, that the worshippers of Baal used " to 
cut themselves with knives and lancets, till the 
blood gushed out upon them ;" a strange method, 
one would think, to obtain the favour of theii- 
god ! And yet, nothing was more common in the 
religious rites of several nations, than this bai'bar- 
ous custom. Plutarch, in his book Dc Super sti- 

* i. e. Titus Flamininus, wlio conquered Philip, king of 
Macedon, and restored iIk- liiierty of the Greek states. 
t Joseplius' Wars of the Jcwsj book il. chap. 9, 


tiojie^ tells us, that the priests of Bellona, when 
they sacrificed to that goddess, were wont to be- 
smear the victim with their own blood. The Per- 
sian Magi, according to Herodotus, used to ap- 
pease tempests, and allay the winds, by making 
incisions in their flesh. They who carried about 
the Syrian goddess, as Apuleius relates, among 
other mad pranks, were ever}" now and then cut- 
ting and slashing themselves with knives, till the 
blood gushed out ; and even to this very day, we 
are informed, that in Turkey, Persia, and in se- 
veral parts of the Indies, there are certain fanatics, 
who think they do a very meritorious service, and 
highly acceptable to the Deity, by cutting and 
mangling their own flesh.* 

The ancient heathens in general, in their pray- 
ers, used " vain repetitions," from an opinion that 
they were to be " heard for their much speaking,*' 
which could imply nothing less than a denial either 
of the power, the knowledge, or the goodness of 
him whom they worshipped.! Their practice in 
this respect may be seen in their tragedians chiefly, 
as in ^^schylus, who has near an hundred verses at 
a time made up of nothing but tautologies [ia>, m, 
&c.) in their crying unto their gods. 

Curious specimens of Pagan idols, the objects of 
their worship, may be seen in the Leverian and 
British Museums, London, and in the Ashmolean 

* See Picari's Rclig. Cere7nonies. 
t See 1 Kings, xviii. 26. St. Matthew, vi. 7. and Acts, 
xix. 34. 


Museum, Oxford. A sight of which must excite 
in every Christian breast the sincerest pity and 
commiseration for the miserable worshippers of 
such hideous deformity. Oli Nature, bUish I Oh 
Reason, be a couAcrt to Christianity, that true faith, 
which alone hath banished such horrid supersti- 
tion, and which alone could dispel the gross dark- 
ness of Pagan idolatry I 

Herodotus gi^ es an able recital of the ancient 
Persian worship; — the religious worship, &c. of 
the ancient Druids may be seen in Caesar De Bel- 
la Gal. lib. vi. and in the 3d edit, of the EncycL 
Brit, vmder that article ; and much information on 
the subject of the Gentile devotions in general, may 
be had in M. de Beaufort, 1. chap. 4. 

Modern Sects. — The chief sects of Pagan- 
ism now existing in the \\orld, are those of the 
SahianSy Magians, Hindoos^ and Chhiese, together 
with that of the Grand Lama of Tartary ; which 
is perhaps the most extensive and most splendid. 
'J'he two first of these sects were of very early date, 
and had their original in the Kast, — the former in 
Chaldea, and the latter in Persia ; and, according 
to Dr. Prideaux, botli existed in Asia in his time, 
/. r. about a century ago ; and ^\•e may conclude, 
that they still exist' there at tliis day. 

The modem Sahiatis pretend to lui\ e received 
their name from Sabius^ a son of Setli; and dieir. 
heresy had onte o^ erspread almost all mankind. 
They had temples, altars, sacrifices, images, and 


Other idols. Some think, that they held the unity 
of God, though, at the same time, they worship- 
ped the fixed stars, and planets, the angels, and 
. theii- images, as subordinate deities ; whose media- 
tion .with the one most high and supreme God 
they ardently implored.* 

The Magi, whose principles have ever been 
confined to Persia, India, and Arabia, and whose 
founder, or rather reviver^ was Zoroaster, the Per- 
sian philosopher, rejected temples, images, &c.; 
and said, that God was like no material thing, and 
held fire and light to be the best symbols of Him, 
and so worshipped toward the sun rising, or before 
the fire. And we are told, that, at this day, their 
baptism is performed, in the north of Persia, by 
holding the infant over a fire, or toward the sun. 
They lived together in colleges, — were addicted to 
the study of astronomy, and other branches of 
natural philosophy, — and were highly esteemed 
throughout die East. 

The Magi, now called Gaurs by the Turks, 
were the authors of the docti'ine afterwards adopt- 
ed by tlie Manicheans, of two original and indepen- 
dent principles: the one the cause of all good; the 
otlier the author of matter, and the cause of all 

* Those who are desirous of obtaining an exact know- 
ledge of the Sabian principles and worship, may consult 
H>cle'si?e/. Vet. Pers. p. 128 ; D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient 
p. 276.; Houinger'tj Hist. Oriental, lib. i. cap. 8.; and Dr. 
Pridcaux's Connect. ^dSt I. b. 3. 

VOL. r. X 


evil. Tliis was a bold and injudicious attempt, to 
reconcile the existence of moral and physical evil, 
with the atti-ibutes of a beneficent Creator and 
Governor of the world. It is evidently a perver- 
sion of the revealed doctrine, concerning the prince 
of the re\olted angels, Avho is no other than the 
Persian Ahriman. At the time when this system 
of the two principles began to prevail in the East, 
the Je\\ish prophets combated the abuse, by deny- 
ing the independency of tlie evil principle.* This 
religion, venerable at least on account of its high 
antiquit}-, which even Alexander, the conqueror of 
Darius, had spared and respected, is now almost 
utterly sub\ erted by Mohammedism, and the vic- 
torious Koran is triumphantly established on its 
ruins. Every important particular concerning it 
has been elaborately mvesti gated, and clearly ex- 
plained, by the learned Hyde, and Dr. Prideaux.f 

From the account given of them by this last au- 
thor, it would seem that they can scarcely be con- 
sidered as idolaters ; for he describes them as " a 
poor, harmless sort of people, zealous in their su- 
perstition, rigorous in their morals, and exact in 
their dealings ; professing the \\orship of one God 
only, and the belief of a resurrection, and a future 
judgment; and utterly detesting all idolatry, al- 
though reckoned by the Mahometans the most 

* See particularly, Is.iiah xlv. 5 — 7. 

t In Wxv, Rel. Vet. Fersarutris eoruimjue Magortim ; Dr. 
Prideaux's Connect. P.^rt I. b. 4. ; see also Bishop Porteus' 
Lect. on St. Matthew's Gos/iel, vol i. p. 35, 36. 


guilty of it : for although they perform their wor- 
ship before fire, and towards the rising sun, yet 
they utterly deny that they worship either of them. 
They hold, that more of God is in these his crea- 
tures, than in any other; and that therefore they 
worship God toward them, as being, in their 
opinion, the truest Shechinah of the divine presence 
among us, as darkness is that of the devil's : and 
as to Zoroastres, they still have him in the same 
veneration as the Jews have Moses, looking on 
him as the great prophet of God, by whom he sent 
his law, and communicated his will to them."* 

The original inhabitants of India are called Gen- 
toosy Indoos, or Hindoos, from Indoo, or Hindoo, 
which, in the Shanscrit language, signifies the 
moon ; from which luminary, and the sun, they de- 
rive their fabulous origin, f Their religion also is 
of high antiquity; but, since the age of Tamerlane, 
who flourished in the 14th centurj^, Mohammedism 
has been uniformly the religion of the goverment 
of India. The Gentoos, however, are still said to 
exceed the Mohammedans in number, in the pro- 
portion of ten to one ; J and the common people 
are almost all Pagans, and abstain from eating any 
thing that has enjoyed life, and even from eggs, as 
they believe in the transmigration of souls. They 

* Dr. Prideaux as above, vol. i. p. 309 12mo, 12th edit. 

t Hindostan is a composition of Hindoo, and Stan, a re- 
gion, or country; and the river Indus takes its name from 
the people, not the people from the river. 

% Orme's History of Indostan, 


look upon a cow almost as a divinity, and think a 
person happy ^\ ho has died with the tail of one in 
his hand. They beHeve that the waters of the 
Ganges, Indus, and Krislna, have the sacred vir- 
tue of purif}ing those w ho bathe in them from all 
sins and pollutions; and hence, A\hile they are 
regular in prayers, and strict in the observance of 
every other tenet of tlieir religion, tliey never for- 
get the daily ceremony of ablution. An idea this, 
which, together with the lustrations and purifica- 
tions which prevailed among the ancient heathen 
nations in general, clearly pro\es, that they were 
never left without some notion of the purity of the 
Deity, and of tlieir own moral defilement. 

" The religious creed of the Gentoos," says Dr. 
White, " is a system of the most barbarous idola- 
try. They acknowledge, indeed, one supreme 
God : yet innumerable are the subordinate deities 
whom tliey worship ; and innumerable also are 
the vices and folHes which they ascribe to them. 
With a blindness which has ever been found in- 
separable from Polytheism, they adore, as the at- 
tributes of their gods, the \veaknesses and passions 
which deform and disgrace human nature; and 
their vvorship is, in many respects, not unw orthy 
of the deities who are the objects of it. The favour 
of beings, which ha\e no existence but in the ima- 
gination of the superstitious enthusiast, is concilia- 
ted by senseless ceremonies, and unreasonable mor- 
tifications, A\ hich sti"ike at the root of every lawful 
and innocent enjoyment. What, indeed, shall we 


think of a religion, which supposes the expiation 
of sins to consist of penances, than which fancy can- 
not suggest any thing more rigorous and absurd ; in 
sitting, or standing, whole years in one unvaried 
posture ; in carrying the heaviest loads, or dragging 
the most weighty chains; in exposing the naked 
body to the scorching sun ; and in hanging, with 
the head down^^'ard, before the fiercest and most 
intolerable fire ? But it were endless to dwell on 
all their superstitious rites."*^ One most cruel and 
inhuman custom prevails among them, " by which 
the wife of the Gentoo is induced to bum herself 
on the pile which consumes the ashes of her hus- 
band ; a custom, if not absolutely enjoined by her 
religion, yet, at least, so far recommended by it, as 
to render the breach of it, in some cases, subject to 
the utmost ignominy and detestation."! 

This practice of sacrificing living objects to the 
manes of the dead, continuing in opposition to the 
prohibitor}- orders of the Indian government ; the 
Marquis of Wellesley lately instituted an inquiry, 
as to the probable number of these religious mur- 
ders, with a view to make it, at some fitting period, 
the groimd of some restrictive law; and his enqui- 
ries haAe established the horrid fact, that upwards 
of 30,000 widows are annually burnt with the bo- 

* Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, July 
4, 1784, " On the duty of attempting the profiagation of the 
gospel among our Mahometan and Gentoo subjects in IndiOf" 
and published with his Bampton Lectures. 

t Dr. White, as above. 


dies of their husbands ;* besides which, numbers 
of women and children are every year cast into the 
river, as offerings to the goddess Gonza. When a 
woman gives birth to twins, one of the infants is 
generally sacrificed to this goddess, in acknowledg- 
ment for her bounty. 

The Brahmin superstition rejected all converts; 
and but few have as yet been known to be convert- 
ed from their religion to Christianity. Indeed, al- 
though our settlements in India occupy a far great- 
er extent than the British empire in Europe, yet it 
was not till of late, that any efforts have been ex- 
erted to introduce the glorious light of the gospel 
into any part of these wide provinces, and to dispel 
the gloom which has, for ages, enveloped the 
MTetched inhabitants. And now, that it is more 
seriously proposed, it must furnish matter of sur- 
prise to Christians in general, that the necessity, or 
propriety of this duty, should be called in question 
by any in a Christian land. 

Their Bible, or the religious code of Brama, is 
known by the name of Vedam ; and their priests, 
who are called Bramins, or Brahmins, form the first 

* Caledonian Mercury, 29th March 1804. — I am told by 
an officer of rank in ihe East India Company's service, (not 
Mijor Scott W><ring, nor the Bengal nfficer who endeavours 
"to evince the Excellence of the Moral System of the Hin- 
doos" &c.) that tliis barbarous custom may, in his opinion, 
be done away, or its influence materially weakened, provid- 
ed the attempt be gone about with prudence and caution. 


of their four great casts, or tribes, into which the 
Hindoos have been divided, from the remotest an- 
tiquit}- ; and to them alone it is allowed to read and 
explain the Vedam, so that they make a mystery 
of their faith. Benares is reputed the most holy 
city of tlie Hindoo sect ; the rites and ceremonies 
of their religion are pompous and splendid; and 
their temples, or pagodas, stupendous and magni- 
ficent, in a very high degree. The code, which 
directs their belief, and influences their actions, has 
been translated into English, by Mr. Halhed ; and 
much information on the subject of their religion 
may also be found in Orme's History ofHindostan. 
Recourse may also be had to the Asiatic Researches, 
and to Mr. Foster's Sketches of Hindoo Mythobgy, 
who was the actual spectator, as well as the faithful 
reporter, of their numerous superstitions.* 

The primeval theology of the Chinese was com- 
paratively pure and simple; they originally adored 
no sculptured images of the Deit}^; but their pre- 
sent religion is invoh ed in so much mystery, that 
Father Amiot, after the most assiduous researches 
on the subject, comes to no decided conclusion re- 
specting it. Confucius, perhaps the noblest and 
most divine philosopher of the Pagan world, v/as 
himself the innocent occasion of the introduction 
of the numerous and monstrous idols that, in after 

* See also Sonnerafs Voyages, vol. i. Calcutta edit. ; from 
whoH' 11 ijppears, that the Hindoos have some notions of a 


ages, disgraced the temples of China ; for, having, 
in his dying moments, encouraged his disconso- 
late disciples, by prophesying, " Si Fam Yen Xim 
Gi?i,''* tliey concluded, that he meant the god 
Bhood of India, and immediately introduced into 
China the a\ orship of that deity, with all the h'ain 
of abominable images, and idolatrous rites, by which 
that gi'oss superstition was in so remarkable a man- 
ner distinguished. To what holy and illustrious 
personage about to appear in the West, Confucius, 
who flourished about 500 A. C, and seems to have 
inherited at once the sublime virtues, and the pro- 
phetic spirit of tlie old patriarchs, alluded, it is not 
very difficult to say. 

Of the three gi*and Chinese sects, ihejirst, and 
most ancient, is that called the sect of Immortals; 
from a certain liquor, which its founder Li- Laokiim^ 
or Lao-Kiiin^ invented, and which, he affirmed, 
would, if drank, make men immortal. He flour- 
ished before Confucius, or upwards of 500 A. C. ; 
and though the principles of Epicurus have been 
attributed to this great philosopher,! and though 
the followers of Lao-Kiun are materialists at this 
day, yet, from the account of his writings given 
by the two French Jesuits, Couplet and Le Com.pte, 
there is the gi'eatest reason to suppose, that his 

* i. e. In occidente erit sanctus : In the West, the Holy 
One vvill appea''. 

t As that God was corporeal, that the soul perishes with 
the body, &c. 


original doctrines have been grossly corrupted and 
misrepresented by his followers. 

He is said to have held, that God had under his 
government many inferior deities, Avhom his fol- 
lowers worship : They also worship himself, and 
many other men Avhom they have deified, and 
whose idols they keep in their temples. 

The second of the three prevailing systems in 
China, is tliat of Confucius^ which is confined to 
the learned. 

Of the immortality of the soul, this celebrated 
wise man is said to have had but little idea ; and 
his philosophy, instead of morality, teaches little 
more than political duty, or a morality merely sub- 
servient to the ends of government. He, however, 
speaks of God as a pure and perfect principle, and 
is said to have prohibited idolatiy. But if he did 
so, the prohibition is certainly disregarded, and 
that in more respects than one : for temples and 
images have been erected to himself; to his me- 
mory most towns have a place consecrated to this 
day ; and he is worshipped as a god, with the pro- 
foundest adoration. 

But the most numerous sect is that of those who 
worship the idol Fo^ or Fohi^ whom they style the 
only god of the world ; and who was imported into 
India about thirty-two, or, according to others, sixty- 
four years after the death of our Saviour. 

VOL. I. y 


With respect to the principles of the Chinese 
people at large, it may be obsen'ed, that they are 
superstitious in the exti'eme: each house has its 
altar and its deities ; and the sect of Fo believe in 
the transmigration of souls : and, \\& learn from Le 
Compte and Duhald, that, after having offered 
largely to their gods, if disappointed of their assist- 
ance, they sue them for damages, and obtain de- 
crees agamst them from the mandarines, or ma- 
gistrates. When their houses are on fire, they 
hold their gods, \\hich are of AAOod, and of their 
own making, to the flames, in hopes of stopping 
their progress. 

The great empire of China is said to have no 
established religion: and the clergy receive no 
support from government. The emperor, though 
absolute in e^ery other instance, pretends to no 
power over the religion of the country. The 
King^ i. e. their canonical book, is said to incul- 
cate the belief of a supreme Being, the author and 
preserver of all things ; yet most of their sects 
pay a religious worship to the sun and elements, 
and to the souls of their ancestors, to Avhom they 
consecrate temples, altars, and statues. The 
same kind of worship is paid also to deceased 
monarchs, to philosophers, legislators, and other 
eminent persons, especially the founders of their 
different sects. The Jesuit missionaries in China 
complied m ith this, as a civil or political worship, 
and permitted it to their proselytes. The Domi- 
nicians, and other orders, condemned it as idola- 


trous; and this contest occasioned the total exci- 
sion of Christianity in the Chinese empire, about 
the year 1720, when the pope's decree, condemn- 
ing the worship paid to the sun, &c. being incon- 
sistent with the usages of China, the Christian re- 
ligion could no longer subsist there. It was soon 
after proscribed, by several edicts; pursuant to 
which, more than 300 churches were desti'oyed, 
and nearly 300,000 Christians were deprived of 
tlieir pastors, and of all prospect of seeing dieir re- 
ligion restored.* 

In matters of religion, the Japanese have a great 
affinity to the Chinese ; and, though split into vari- 
ous sects, are chiefly of the sect which, in China, 
is called Xaca, or Xekia^ who believe in a plurality 
of worlds, and in the Pythagorean principle of 
transmigration. I 

Near Tonker, or Lassa, in Thibet, or Mogulean 
Tartarv", is mount Piita/a, or Patoli^ on which 
stands the grand temple, or pagoda4 the residence 
of the grand Lama^ or Dalay Lama, the deity of 
the Tartars, aa ho not only unites in his own person 
the regal and sacerdotal chai'acter, but, by the 

* In Sir G. Staunton's account of Lord Macartney's 
Embassy to China, much information maybe found respect- 
ing their religion. 

t See Df. Thunberg's Travels into Japan, 8cc. 4 vols. 
8vo 1798. 

\ The Chinese temples also are called Pagodas, and 
their priests Bonzes. 

172 f AG AX ISM 

more remote Tartars at least, is ^ enerated as the 
Deit}- himself, and is called " God^ the everlast- 
ieg Father of Heaven. "^ This person is A\orship- 
ped b}' the Lamas, or Tartar priests, under the 
shape of a young man, who, tliey pretend, never 
dies, but is immortal and omnipotent. He is seat- 
ed, cross-legged, on a golden throne, attended by 
se\eral thousands * of priests. He ne\er speaks, 
or mo^ es, in public, except that he sometimes 
waves his hand, in token of fa^•our to a particular 
AAorshipper. When he dies, another, as much 
like him as can be found, is put in his place. Al- 
most all the nations of the East, except the Mo- 
hammedans, believe in the Metempsychosis^ or 
ti'ansmigration of souls ; and the opinion of those 
M ho cMt reputed the most orthodox among the Thi- 
betians, is, that a\ hen the Grand Lama seems to 
die, either of old age, or of infirmit}', his soul, in 
fact, onl}- quits a crazy habitation, to look for ano- 
ther, younger or better ; and is discovered again in 
the bod}' of some child, by certain tokens, known 
only to the Lamas, or priests, in which order he al- 
ways appears. 

This religion is said to have been of 3000 years 
standing; and neither time, noi" the influence of 

* The foot of the mountain, which stands near the banks 
oi Barumfiooter^ about seven miles from l>assa, or La/tansa, 
is said to be inhabited by about 20,000 Lamas, or priests, 
who have their separate apartments round about the moun- 
tain ; and, acGordini^ to their respective (juality, are placed 
nearer, or at a greater distance from, the sovereign pontifT. 


men, has had the power of shaking the authority 
of the Grand Lama, whose theocracy extends as 
fully to temporal as to spiritual concerns. It has 
been adopted in a large part of the globe, and is 
even now professed alt over Thibet and Mongalia ; 
is almost universal in Greater and Lesser Bucha- 
ria, and most provinces of Tartary : it has also 
some followers in the kingdom of Cassimere in 
India, and prevails in most parts of China.* The 
Grand Lama has a nuncio at Pekin ; and the pre- 
sent imperial family of China, who are Tartars, 
follow this idolatry, which, in most respects, is not 
unlike that of China ; for the grosser Chinese idol- 
aters worship their chimerical god Fohi, or Fo, in 
much the same manner. 

Theodoret, in his Therapeutics, mentions a sin- 
gularit}^ scarcely to be paralleled but in this reli- 
gion of Tartary, of which see Mosheim's Hist. 
Eccles. Tartarorum, p. 133., et seq. " Porphery 
asserts,'' says he, " that, in the village of Anabi, the 
Egyptians worshipped a living man, and sacrificed 
to him on an altar, after which they set before him 
his usual food." And, what is more, the Mexi- 
cans had a custom of keeping a man a year, and 
even worshipping him during that time, and then 
sacrificing him. j- 

* Dr. Stiles' Election Serrnon, p. 75. ; and Raynal's His- 
tory of the East and West Indies, vol. ii. p. 219. 

t Burder's Oriental Customs, p. 357. — For a more full 
account of the religion of the Grand L^ma, see likewise 
Hannah Adan.s's Vieio of Religions, edit. 1 805, and Captain 
Turner's Embassy. 


Countries where found, &c. — About the 
time when it pleased God to call Abraham to be 
the head of a nation, that Mas to preser\e the 
knowledge and worship of himself, almost all the 
world were given to idolatry. Melchisedec was 
then indeed a priest of the most high God, and 
some time after, we read of a few believers, saints 
and prophets, who were not of the posterity of 
Abraham, nor connected witli the nation of the 
Jews. Thus, Job and his friends dwelt in Arabia : 
Jethro and his posterity in the country of Midian : 
and the sojourning of Abraham in Mesopotamia, 
the countiy of Baalam, left marks tliere of the 
friends of truth. Yet, religious worship was fre- 
quently mixed with superstition and idolatiy, even 
among those A\-ho professed to adore the one God 
of heaven and earth.* 

The Jews themseh^es were e\ er prone to idola- 
try, till after their captivity at Bab}'lon, when they 
adhered more strictly to the worship of the God of 
Israel, and by their dispersions and emigrations 
became highly instiumental in bringing back many 
Pagans to the knowledge of the true God. So 
that by the time of our Saviour, there were in al- 
most all nations of the then known ^\•orld, many 
proselytes to the unity of God, and not a few to the 
religion of the Jews. But it was not till the days 
of Christianity, that any set of men made it their 
serious business to turn men from sin to holiness, 
from darkness to light, and from wan idols to tlie 

* Of this Laban's Teraphim are a proof. 

AND PAGANS. ' ifo 

worship and service of the Creator of heaven and 
earth : nor was it till then that the extent of Pagan 
idolatry was visibly contracted, or its power sen- 
sibly reduced. No ; it was Christianity that made 
the first great . and lasting impression on the gross 
idolatry of the heathen, and that caused their idols 
to bow before it. Mohammedism followed up the 
attack; and, if we except the small territory of Ju- 
dea which the Jews inhabited, every foot of gi^ound 
possessed at this day, by both Christians and Mo- 
hammedans, may be considered as so much gain- 
ed from the extent and dominions of Paganism. 
Yet, after all, it is a truth, and a truth never suffi- 
ciently to be lamented, that were the whole surface 
of the globe, as known to us, divided into thirty 
parts, not less than ninetee?! of these parts are still 
inhabited by Pagans and idolaters ; i. e. almost 
two-thirds of the extent of the a\ hole known world 
possessed by mankind, containing about 482 mil- 
lions of inhabitants, \^ hich is nearly tvvO-thirds also 
of the whole human race now existing, as may be 
seen by the Table in the Introduction to this work. 

Idolaters possess, at this day, more than one 
half the extent of the immense continents of Asia 
and Africa, together ^^•ith nearly three parts of four 
of America. For some time indeed after the first 
settlement of Europeans in the new world, the Pa- 
gans there were converted in great numbers ; but 
afterwards observing the licentious lives of profess- 
ing Christians, theii' greediness of gold, and their 
extreme cruelty, they kept more aloof from Chris- 


tianity ; nay, so unchristian- like in every respect 
seems to have been the character and conduct of 
the first Spanish settlers in America, that when a 
friar, discoursing with an Indian on the joys of hea- 
ven, told him, that all Spaniards went to heaven 
after this life ; the Pagan is said to have answered, 
" I do not desire to go tliither if Spaniards be 
there : I would rather go to hell, to be free of their 

Even Europe herself, though the beams of tlie 
cross have shined upon her above these 1700 
years, is not yet free from Pagan idolaters, who pos- 
sess the gi'eater part of Greenland, and are still to 
be found in Russian Lapland, and other parts to- 
wards the northern extremity of the continent. 

The islands possessed by them are innumera- 
ble, especially in the South Seas. Ne'w Holland 
itself is so large, that it is considered by some as 
a new continent, and it is possessed almost wholly 
by Pagans. What good eftect our little colony in 
New South Wales may have on the religion of the 
natives, remains yet to be ascertained; meantime 
it is hoped, that some serious attempts, with a view 
to their conversion, are now making, or will soon 
be made. 

Nor are the West India islands so free from 
Pagan idolatrv as could be \i ished. " In the 
British islands alone,'' says the late learned 
nnd excellent Bishop of London, " there are u]> 


wards of 400,000 human beings, of whom much 
the greatest part live most hterally without God 
in the world ; — without any knowledge of a Crea- 
tor or Redeemer ; — without any one principle ei- 
ther of natural or revealed religion ; — without the 
idea of one moral dut)% except that of performing 
their daily task, and escaping the scourge that con- 
stantly hangs over them. The consequence is, 
that they are heathens, not only in their hearts, but 
in their lives, and, knowing no distinction between 
vice and virtue, they give themselves up freely to 
the grossest immoralities, without so much as be- 
ing conscious tliat they are doing wrong." — " A 
condition such as this," adds his lordship, " in 
which so many thousands of oui' unoffending fel- 
low creatures are involved, cannot but excite the. 
compassion of every feeling heart ; and it must be 
matter of no small surprise, and of the deepest con- 
cern, that, excepting a few instances, which de- 
serve the highest praise, no effectual means have 
yet been put in practice, either on the part of those , 
individuals who are most nearly interested in the 
welfare of these poor wTetches, or of the government 
under which they live, to rescue them out of this 
spiritual captivity, so much worse "han even that 
temporal one (heavy as it is) to which they are con- 
demned. Almost the only considerable attempts 
that have been made to deliver them from this de- 
plorable state of ignorance, have been made by 
this venerable Society ; which has had this object, 
among others, constantly in view ; and in the pro- 

VOL. I. 7, 


secution of it, has not been sparing either of labour, 
or of expense."* 

It were presumption beyond that of our first pa- 
rents, or evtn of Lucifer himself, for man to cen- 
sure the justice and goodness of the Creator in this 
particular, or ask why he makes daily such innu- 
merable vessels of dishonour. It is much the wiser 
and safer course, to sit down in an humble adora- 
tion, and ciy out. Oh I the profound and inscruta- 
ble judgments of God! his ways are past finding 
out; and so to acknowledge with the divine phi- 
losopher, " What the eye of a bat is to the sun, 
the same is all human understanding in respect to 
God."f We ought not, however, to listen to the 
unchristian advice of Mr. Dent, and leave the Pa- 
gans " to go to heaven their own way,"| but to 
pray and to strive for their conversion, and to leave 
all those who shall have li\ ed and died in the ig- 

* Sermon preached in 1783, before ihe Incorporated 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 
and to be found in Vol. I. of his Lordship's Sermons. 

See an able letter of Mr. Howell, (Familiar Letters, part 
2d, leUer 48.) on the Countries possessed by Pagans about 
the middle of the seventeenth century. 

t " Quod oculus vespertilionis ad solem, idem est omnis 
intellectus humanus ad Denrn." 

I Speech in the House of Commons, Jine 1802, when 
speaking of the object of the Sierra Leone Company. 

Those are not wanting, I am sorry to say, who seem to 
take this advice; but the great Dr. Johnson was quite of a 
different way of thinking. See Boswell's Life of Johnso7i, 
Vol. n. p. 28-— 33. edit. 1804. 


norance and misery of Paganism, in the hands of a 
wise, just, and merciful God; remembering, that 
his word is not more silent on the subject of their 
case hereafter, than it is clear and express as to 
what shall be our oxvn; for should we continue to 
love the darkness of Heathenism, rather than the 
light of the Gospel, that this light is come into our 
borders, will, we are assured, instead of turning 
out to our happiness, be found to add to our final 

To hasten that happy period, when Jews and 
Gentiles shall unitedly become the subjects of 
Christ's kingdom, and the knowledge of the Lord 
shall fill the earth, " as the waters cover the sea,'' 
and to forward the more general conversion of the 
heathen, as far as it can be effected by human 
means, the church of Rome has long employed 
missionaries in heathen lands 5 nor have Protestant 
churches been wanting in this respect : but with 
this view, new and unprecedented efforts have 
been made of late, and are still making, both at 
home and abroad. And, highly to be applauded 
surely is the zeal that has thus gone abroad in so 
good a cause; and happy might be its effects, 
were it in all cases " according to knowledge," and 
well directed : the end in view is most excellent, 
and of all others well calculated to call forth the 
warmest zeal, and the most earnest exertions ; but 
it is suspected by many worthy and judicious 
Christians, that the principles upon which some of 
the later Missionary Societies are formed, or the 


means and instruments used by them to effect it, 
are not exactly correspondent, or in all respects 
adapted to the puq^ose, so as to gain many converts 
from Pasjanism, and to make them real " mem- 
bers of Christ's church, children of God, and in- 
heritors of the kingdom of heaven." Much good, 
doubtless, has notwithstanding been done by these 
Societies in heathen lands ;* and that still more 
may be daily effected, is the prayer of e\'ery real 
Christian : at the same time, v\ hile, together with 
our prayers, our best endeavours should be used 
for the conversion of the heathen abroad, great 
care should be taken that heathenism do not re- 
vive, and grow upon us at home. I say, at home; 
for the taste for heathen learning, which began 
to prevail about the time of the Reformation, hath 
been productive of an evil, which hath been 
growmg upon us ever since, and hath at length 
given to heathenism the upper hand in almost 
every thing. The subjects of the ornamental 
arts, were, some ages back, generally borro\ved 
from the Holy Scriptures, and had some pious 
relation to the doctrines of Christianity, but are 

* I therefore most heartily concur with the learned Fa- 
bricius, when, noticing sojne Romish missions, he says: 
" Nomen Christi etiam missionariorum studiis latius pro- 
fcrri, atque inter genies personare, gaudeo cum apostolo et 
gaudebo, quanquam ut apud majores nostros olim obscura- 
tum traditionibus humanis : nam ita quoque non dubito, 
illud salutare fjre multis, donee post hoc crepusculum, 
puriorem plenamque lucem cvangelii populis illis concc- 
dere luminum patri visum fuorit." — Salutaris Lux Evan- 
gelii orbi toti e x or i ens. 4to, 1731, p. 566. 

^ND PAGANS. 181 

now almost universally taken from the Heathen 
mythology. In all the sciences, in politics, in mo- 
rality, and in botany, the tokens of this Pagan in- 
fection are very observable. But in poetry the ser- 
vility of Christians is most notorious of all. 

Experience shews how difficultjit is to dwell 
with delight upon the expressions of heathen wri- 
ters, without embracing too many of their senti- 
ments. Dr. Middleton confesses, in one of his 
letters, " that his classical engagements had ren- 
dered him very squeamish in his theological stu- 
dies ;" and this has no doubt been the case with 
many others. 

It has been observed, that the statues of heathen 
deities have been generally found under the earth 
with their faces downward, which renders it pro- 
bable, that, after the conversion of the empire, such 
statues had been purposely buried out of the way, 
by the zeal and piety of the primitive Christians. 
But, tempora miitantur^ how much are times alter- 
ed since then? Who does not know, that heathen 
fragments are now sought after, as zealously as 
Christian relics were collected in former ages? 
We now hear Mr. Gibbon blaming Christians, for 
not intermixing " the elegant and innocenf^ rites of 
Paganism with their own worship! And almost 
every newspaper brings us accounts of some addi- 
tion having been made to our collection of statues, 
and other heatlien curiosities, by Lord Elgin, and 
the heroes of Egypt. 



" It has indeed been told me (with what weight. 
How credibly, 'tis hard for me to state,) 
That fables old, that seemed for ever mute. 
Revived, are hast'ning into fresh repute ; 
And gods and goddesses discarded long. 
Like useless lumber, or a stroller's song, 
Are bringing into vogue their heathen train. 
And Jupiter bids fair to rule again."* 

The study of antiquity is no doubt entertaining 
and curious, and useful in its place ; but certainly 
it is both useful and reputable to know many things, 
which it is by no means necessary to admire : and 
some minds are so ill prepared to make proper 
distinctions, that their curiosity rises insensibly to 
a religious veneration. But where at last will this 
taste, this affectation of heathen principles and hea- 
then manners, which hath been prevailing and in- 
creasing for so many years, from the days of Lord 
Herbert to the present time, where, I say, will it 
lead us? Where can it lead us, but to indifference, 
infidelity, and atheism? If the example of our 
neighbours on the continent do not make us wise, 
it is certain we never shall be so.f 

* Cowper's Poems^Yo\. I. p. 253, 4th edit. 

t See Reflections on the growth of Heathenism among mo- 
dern Christians, by the late Rev. William Jones. Those 
who are not possessed of his valuable works, may find his 
excellent reflections on this subject in the 2d Vol. of The 
Scholar Jrmed. They were written in the year 1776, in a 
letter to a friend at Oxford. What hath since taken place 
in France, must be allowed to confirm, the conjecture which 
he hazards towards the end of his letter, where he says, 
that, " Should any person ask me how Christianity is to 

and pagans. iqs 

Authors for and against Paganism.— 
Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian, were three of the 
most distinguished supporters of the feeble cause of 
Paganism in the early days of Christianity ; and 
with a view to prevent the fulfilment of certain pro- 
phecies respecting Jerusalem, the last of these at- 
tempted to rebuild it, but in vain.* In later times, 
Lord Herbert and Natalis Comes were two great 
advocates for reviving paganism: Voltaire, Dr. 
Middleton, Dr. Halley, Mr. Pope, the Chevalier 
Ramsay, Mr. Hume, and Mr. Gibbon, with seve- 
ral others, seem also to have been promoters of the 
same cause, though some of them, it is hoped, 
without intending it. But a professed adherent of 
Paganism in this enlightened age and country, after 
its errors have so often been proved,^ and its absur- 
dities clearly pointed out, is perhaps one of the 
most singular phenomena that the rage for secta- 
rism has produced ; yet such an adherent is Mr, 
Thomas Taylor, translator of F?-oclus,-\ &c. 

In the tragedy which has lately been acted in 
France, we have beheld Christianity banished from 
, ci-devant 7nost Christian ground, or retire of her- 
self and disappear for a while, as if shocked at the 
scenes that were acting; while Paganism was 

be banished out of Christendom, as the predictions of the 
gospel give us reason to expect it will be, I should make 
no scruple to answer, that it will certainly be brought tr* 
pass by this growing^ affection to heathenism." 
. * See above p. 8. 
t See the jinal. Rev. Vol. III. 1789 


brought fonvard into her place, and introduced 
upon the stage, and the actors, more despicable as 
more guilty than their heathen predecessors, wor- 
shipped Human Reason, Libert}^, and other such 
mere imaginary gods. Nay, some of them, as 
Volney, Dupuis, &:c. have had the effrontery to 
tell us, that Jesus Christ never existed as a man ; 
that under his name we worship the sun ; that by 
his tAvelve apostles are only meant the twelve signs 
of the Zodiac ; and that Christianity is merely a 
species of Pagan idolatry ! ! 

The sacred writers are generally full and elo- 
quent upon the subject of idolatry: they treat it 
with great severity, and set forth the absurdity of 
it in the strongest light. *^ But a heathen author, 
in the ludicrous way, has, in a few lines, given it 
one of the severest strokes it has perhaps ever met 
with from any pen.f Among the Jews, Josephus 
wTote against the ancient heathen Idolatiy ; J and 
some of the chief apologists for Christianity, in op- 
position to the reigning theology, were Justin Mar- 
tyr, Athenagoras, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertul- 
lian, Minucius, Foelix Origen, St. Cyprian, and 

* See in particular, Isaiah, chap. xliv. v. 12 — 20. 
t " Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile liijniim ; 

Cum faber, incertus scamnum faceretne Priapuiti) 

Maluit esse Deum." — Hor. 
I See Josephus Contra Afifdonem. 

§ See a catalogue of them in Dr. Bray's Bibl. Paroch. 

p. 60- J. 


In their disputes with the heathens, the ancient 
lathers of the church acted wisely in refuting Pa- 
ganism, rather than in demonstrating the truth of 
the gospel ; for they addressed theii- apologies to 
men who considered all religions as compatible, 
and who were disposed to form a friendly coalition 
between Gentilism and Christianit}% by adopting 
both. To such, the true way of argument was, 
to prove that their own Polytlieism was an impos- 
ture, the desti'uction of which was essential to the 
establishment of the only true religion. This has 
been clearly shewn by Bishop Warburton in his 
work of the Divine Legation of Moses. " The 
truth of Christianit}-," says that learned author, 
" was acknowledged by the Pagans : they only 
wanted to have the compliment returned. As this 
could not be done, there \\ as a necessity to assign 
the reasons of their refusal ; and this gave birth to 
so many confutations of idolatrous worship.''* 

Paganism is an immense field ; so immense and 
extensive is it, that the memoirs of it now remain- 
ing, would, by their number and variet}^, baffle the 
industry of the most learned and diligent collector. 
For much valuable information respecting it, re- 
course may be had to Dr. Apthorp's Letters on 
the Prevalence of Christianitij before its civil esta- 
blishment^ in which that learned author fully proves 
that Paganism was such, and so firmly established 
in the first ages of the church, that if Christianity 

* 2. 6. p. 52. 
VOL. I. A a 


had not been from heaven, it could not have over- 
thrown it.*" 

Mr. Gibbon refers us to Herodotus for the most 
genuine accounts of idolatry. We agree with the 
learned historian in this appeal to the father of his- 
tory ; who in his account of Egypt writes a com- 
ment on the Pentateuch, by describing those enor- 
mities, which the Mosaic institutions were design- 
ed to prevent. There we see all Egypt in a riot 
on the banks of the Nile, and its temples stained 
with ineffable pollutions — there we find the tem- 
ples of Belus and of Mylitta, scenes of prostitution 
which must not be related. The Roman Baccha- 
nals, the worship of Serapis, and numberless other 
instances of gross impurities and corruptions, 
might be alleged in later and more polished times. 
In a word, " the most tremendous libertinism 
marks every period of idolatry in all nations ; and 
e\ ery enormity was consecrated by the very ex- 
amples of the gods.^t 

Miscellaneous Remarks. — Much of what 
belongs to this head has already been anticipated; 

* See also Dr. Leland's Advantage and J\fcccssitij of the 
Chriatian Revelation^ sfienvn from the state of Religion vi the 
ancient Heathen World, Sec. in 2 vol. 4io, 1764,; and Dr. 
Ryan's History of the effects of Religion on Alankind. 8cc. 8vo, 
1806. Works that should not be overlooked here, notwith- 
standing the many books already referred to on this article. 

t Dr, Apthorp, who refers the reader to Herod, b. i. 
andii.; Josephus Aiitiq. b.xviii.; and Livy. b. xxxix. See 
also the i;rcat work of G. Vossius, De Origine et Frogressii 


but a few remarks shall therefore be added here, 
as I hasten to breath a purer air, and to tiead on 
Christian ground. 

What thanks are due to God for our deliverance 
from that gross idolatry, which we have now been 
considering, and which once prevailed among all 
nations except the Jews ? 

For this deliverance we are not indebted to rea- 
son, but to revelation ; for though it be no difficult 
matter to prove that there is only 07ie God that 
ought to be worshipped ; to demonstrate a truth al- 
ready kno\\Ti, is a much easier task than to dis- 
cover one buried under the rubbish of prejudice 
and superstition. 

Even the wisest and greatest men in the heathen 
world were Polytheists, and adored, with the vul- 
gar, the gods of their country, whatever idea some 
of them mis'ht have had of the divine unitv. Nor 
has this fundamental doctrine of religion — the unity 
of God, been publicly professed by any people, 
who had not previously been enlightened by reve- 

* " I wish the modern philosophers would inform me, 
how they can account for the piienomena of a little Jewish 
horde^ as Voltaire delights to call the Jews, being possess- 
ed of the true knowledge of the one living and eternal God, 
his Providence, &c. while the learned, polished, and civili- 
sed nations, were sunk in the most gross, barbarous, and 
stupid idolatry, unless they had received the knowledge 
thereof by Divine Revelation." — Introd. to D. Levi's Z)wy 
sert. on the Prophecies, p. 44. 


The Mohammedans learned it from our Scrip- 
tures ; and notwithstanding the ignorant declama- 
tions of infidels concerning the powers of reason, 
and the discos eries which may be made by its as- 
sistance, experience will justify us in affirming, 
that, without the gospel of Christ, we should have 
been at this day as otoss idolaters as were our fore- 
fathers, the original inhabitants of Britain. And 
were Christianity banished from the earth, as some 
men earnestly wish it to be, the absurd and bar- 
barous systems of Paganism would be restored; or 
some modifications of folly and absurdity not less 
extravagant and ridiculous, would be substituted 
in their room. Thus, no sooner had the French 
nation renounced, in their madness, the Christian 
religion, than they began to revive the antiquated 
rites of Greece and Rome, and publicly adored a 
prostitute, under the title of the Goddess of Reason! 

If then it be the Gospel which has turned us 
from these vanities to " serve the living God," as 
most certainly it is, what gratitude is due to him 
for this his unspeakable gift? and being thereby 
delivered from the worship of idols, or the po\vers 
of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his 
Son, how much is it our duty to ^^•alk as children 
of the light and of the day? 

As we profess to be the servants of the living 
God, let us remember, that it is a \v'illing and cheer- 
ful service, as well as a pure and spiritual worship^ 
which he requires. 


He must not be treated like the idols of the 
Gentiles, to whom their votaries presented the 
empty homage of mere ceremonies and oblations. 
Then only do we worship and serve him, in a 
manner worthy of his character and attributes, 
when we present to him the offering of our hearts 
and affections ; when we love him above all things, 
especially for his " inestimable love in the redemp- 
tion of the world, by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the 
means of grace, and for the hope of glory ;'' when 
we confide in his power and promises, — commit 
ourselves to the direction of his wisdom and pro- 
vidence,— submit to his authority, and regulate 
our thoughts, and words, and actions, by his laws. 
In a word, then only do " we walk worthy of the 
vocation wherewith \\t are called," so as to wor- 
ship and serve him acceptably, when we offer up 
prayers expressive of holy desires, and praises from 
a grateful heart; when we live as becometh the 
disciples and servants of Christ; and, while we 
strive to sen e him in the gospel of his Son, we 
have confidence towards him, only through the 
great Mediator and Intercessor, the High Priest of 
our profession. *' For though there be that ai'e 
called gods, whether in heaven or in eai'th, (as 
there be gods many, and lords many,) to tis there 
is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, 
and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom are all things, and we. by him."t 

* 1 Cor. chap. viii. v. 5-6. 





Name and Au t h o r . — Christianity is one of 
the four grand systems of rehgion, and is so cal- 
led from its divine author, Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, and the Saviour of the world. At its first 
commencement, those who embraced it were known 
among themselves by the names of disciples, be- 
lievers, elect, saints, and brethren; nor did they as- 
sume the title of Christians, till about the year 43, 
when the disciples were first so called at Antioch, 
where St. Paul and St. Barnabas were then preach- 
ing the gospel, as we read in the 11th chap, of the 
Acts of the Apostles. 

Judaism, which contains the only preceding re- 
velation of the will of God, was introductory to 
Christianity, and the lineage, birth, life, suffermgs, 


death, and resurrection of the Messiah, i. e. of Je- 
sus Christ, were minutely predated by a succes- 
sion of Jewish prophets, and particularly by Isaiah, 
who has hence been styled the Evangelical Pro- 

Agreeably to these prophecies, he was miracu- 
lously bom at Bethlehem of Judea, about the year 
of the world, 4004, or about 1808 years ago, in the 
reign of Augustus Ccesar, emperor of Rome, and 
of Herod, tributary king of Judea. He was brought 
up at Nazareth of Galilee, with Mary his mother, 
and Joseph, his reputed father, and is supposed to 
have wrought with him as a carpenter till he was 
nearly thirty years of age, when he began his pub- 
lic ministr}% went about doing good, and not only 
taught by his doctrine, the will of God for our sal- 
vation, but at the same time exhibited in his con- 
duct a perfect pattern of righteousness and holiness 
of life. He in a great measure confined the bene- 
fits of his personal ministry to the Je\\'s ; but after 
his resurrection, he commissioned the twelve per- 
sons whom he had chosen from among his disci- 
ples, to be the constant attendants on his person 
and ministry, and who -were afterwards called 
apostles, to go and instruct all nations, in the na- 
ture and principles of his religion, and to introduce 
tliem, by baptism, into that society, of which he 
was the constituted head. 

To convince the world of his divine mission 
and authority, he ^\Tought many miracles, the 


tendency of which Avas the same with that of his 
rehgion, for tliey were almost all wrought for the 
benefit of mankind. But the course of his minis- 
try was interrupted in little more than three years, 
by tlie Jews, who had all along shewn themselves 
his enemies, and who, after continued, and till then 
unheard of insults and indignaties offered to his 
person, at last ignorantly fulfilled their own scrip- 
tures, in crucifying the Son of God, whereby, 
though they knew it not, nor meant it so, "a full, 
perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satis- 
faction," was made for the sins of mankind. He 
rose again the tliird day according to the Scrip- 
tures ; and after spending forty days in giving fui^- 
ther instructions to his disciples, he ascended into 
heaven, in his human body, and there sitteth at tlie 
right hand of God, whence he will come, at the 
last day, to judge botli the quick and die.dead. 

Rise, Progress, &.c. — When the divine au- 
thor of Cliristianity had thus withdi'awn his visible 
presence from the earth, his religion speedily ex- 
perienced, according to his predictions, the increas- 
ing enmity of a world, whose forms of worship it 
superseded, and whose practices it condemned. 
The pure gold was to be tried in the furnace of ad- 
versity; and to this it was exposed for the first 
three centuries after its promulgation, during which 
time it had to contend with the malice of the Jews, 
the wisdom of the Greeks, and the power of the 
Romans. The persecutions which the Christians 
endured under the Roman emperors, are usually 

VOL. I. B b 


enumerated as ten ; a number not very accurate, 
as it exceeds in amount the persecutions that were 
general throughout the empire ; and falls fai' short 
of those that raged at different times in particular 
provinces, and which arose sometimes from the 
fury of legal vengeance, at otlier times from the un- 
authorised but unrestrained outi^ages of the peo- 
ple.* But notwithstanding this \iolent opposi- 
tion, their numbers increased daily, and their reli- 
gion, upheld by the promised assistance of its di- 
vine author, and rising with augmented force from 
the bloody conflicts of persecution, soon made won- 
derful progress in the Roman empii'e, and over- 
spread almost e^•ery part of the then kno\A n world. 
We learn from Tertullian,t that in tlie third cen- 
tury there were Christians, in the camp, in the 
senate, in ^the palace, and, in short, every where 
but in the temples, and in the theatres : they filled 
the towns, the countiy, and the islands. Men and 
women, of all ages and conditions, and even those 
of the highest rank and dignity, embraced the faith, 
insomuch that the Pagans complained, that the re- 
venues of their temples were ruined. " By the 
time the empire became Christian," says the late 

* The chief Gentile persecutions, for the first three 
centuries, and till the reign of Constantine, were those un- 
der JVero, A. D. 64; Domitian^ A. 93; Trajan., A. 104; 
Hadrian, A. 125 ; M. Aurelius, A. 151 ; Severus, A. 197 ; 
Maximin, A. 235; Decius, A. 250; Valerian, A. 257 ; ylu- 
relian, A. 272; JVumeria7i, A. 283; Dioclesian, and Maxi- 
mian, and Licinius, A. 303 — 313. 

t jipol. chap, xxxvii. 


v6n^rable Bishop of London, " there is every rea- 
son to beheve, that the Christians were more nu- 
merous and more powerful than the Pagans."* 

Thus did the word of God go forth, and was 
glorified ; and in the course of a few years after 
the expiration of the first three centuries, the cross 
was waving in the banners of victorious armies, 
and many of the kingdoms of the world become 
" the kingdoms of our God and his Christ." Con- 
stantine granted to tlie Christians the free and un- 
molested enjoyment of their religion, in the early 
part of his reign ; and becoming, by degi'ees, more 
fully convinced that Christianit}^ was true, and that 
every other religion must necessarily be false, he at 
last embraced it himself, and earnestly exhorted all 
his subjects, by edicts issued A. D. 324, to re- 
ceive and embrace the gospel ; and thus he became 
the first Christian Emperor, and has the glory of 
establishing Christianity as the religion of the Ro- 
man Empire. 

His conversion happened about A. D. 312; and 
during a fortunate reign of 30 years, i. e. from A. D. 
306 to 337, he extended the knowledge of true re- 
ligion, with and beyond his victories and conquests. 

On the death of Constantine, his empire was di- 
vided among his three sons, who were all favourers 
of Christianity ; and laboured, though not always 
by unobjectionable means, to abolish the Pagan 

* E-vidences of Christianity, p. 62. 


superstition. That superstition, ho\A'ever, expe- 
rienced a determined support from the Emperor 
JuHan, who ascended the throne A. D. 361. Af- 
fecting moderation, he assailed the Christians v»ith 
equal dexterity and bitterness. He abrogated their 
privileges — sneered at their complaints — shut up 
their schools — encouraged sectaries and schisma- 
tics — stimulated the philosophers to vilify the gos- 
pel — and exercised against it the Avit of his o^\'n 
imperial pen. 

In order to decry the prophecies of Christ, he 
encouraged the Jews to rebuild the temple of Je- 
rusalem. But the undertaking was frustrated, (ac- 
cording to Ammianus Marcellinus, a Pagan phi- 
losopher, whose relation is confirmed by an emi- 
nent Jewish writer,*) by earthquakes, and the re- 
peated eruptions of balls of fire, Avhich dispersed 
the terrified workmen, and demolished their la- 
bours. Fortunately for the church, Julian's reign 
was but short, and his successor Jovian, and the 
emperors who followed to the close of the cen- 
tury, particularly Theodosius the Great, exerted 
themselves with various degrees of zeal, for the 
support of the Christian cause. The ancient re- 
ligion of tlie empire declined on all sides more 
and more ; and the gospel advanced into new re- 
gions, viz. Armenia, Iberia, and Ethiopia, But 
the persecutions to ^^hiQh Christianity had hitherto 

* See ihe Modern Universal History, 8vo, vol. xiii. p 
191. Note. 
See likewise above, p. 8. 


been exposed, however severe, deserve to be styled, 
in some sense, the friends of Christian vii'tue. 

At least, they were enemies far less dreadful 
than prosperity accompanied by those schisms, and 
heresies, and that general con-uption of doctrine, 
discipline, and morality, that soon made their ap- 
pearance when the church began to enjoy peace 
from without. The Christian religion now began 
to be embraced and professed by many, not from 
a real and full conviction of its truth and import- 
ance, but from worldly and interested motives; 
and whatever attention may have been paid to the 
form of it, its power, its influence on the hearts and 
lives of its professors, began to suffer a fatal de- 
cline ; so that before we proceed much farther in its 
history, we shall have much occasion to adopt the 
exclamation of Jeremiah, and say, "How is the gold 
become dim ! How is tlie most fine gold changed !'-'* 

This century gave birth to the Arian Heresy, 
which was favoured by se^•eral of the successors of 
Constantine; and the opinions of the Christian 
world too often fluctuated in compliance with the 
changing sentiments of its masters. Superstition 
also, advancing with rapid strides, was now mak- 
ing surcessful inroads into every quarter; and 
though the Bishop of Rome did not openly an- 
nounce himself as head and so^ ereign of the uni- 
versal church till the following century, several of 
the peculiarities of the church of Rome had, by 
* Lament, chap. iv. v. 1. 


this time, made their appearance. The reverence 
shewn to the memor^ and example of those holy 
men, who had suffered matrydom for the religion 
of Christ, had been carried in the preceding cen- 
tury to excess, and the e^ il once established aug- 
mented daily. A pilgrimage to the sepulchre of a 
martyr was now esteemed most meritorious, and 
festivals, in commemoration of the sufferers, were 
multiplied. The a\ orship of reliques and of images 
commenced; prayers for the dead became com- 
mon ; as likewise the belief of the existence of a 
purgatorial fire destined to purify the souls of the 
departed. Celibacy was imposed on the clergy; 
the invocation of angels had crept into tlie church, 
and the gaudy ceremonies of heathen idolatry were 
transferred or accommodated to the rites of Chris- 
tian worship. 

In the beginning of the fifth centuiy , the Roman 
empire was divided into two, the Western^ and the 
Eastern or Greek empire ; and the former of these 
was now assailed with redoubled violence by the 
Northern barbarians, who had, for a considerable 
time, harassed and endangered its frontiers. In 
the convulsions that ensued, the Christians under- 
went peculiar sufferings ; as they not only shared 
in the common miseries of the times, but had also 
to encounter the cruel usage which their religion 
drew upon them from the invaders, v\ho were 
chiefly Pagans. By degrees, however, their new 
masters embraced the religion of Christ ; but even 
that circumstance did not, in every instance, pre- 


vent persecution. In the course of this century, 
new schisms and heresies co-operated with the un- 
subdued remains of those which aheady existed to 
trouble the peace, and impair the charity of Chris- 
tians ; and, both in the East and West, the super- 
stitions of the preceeding century took firmer root, 
and extended their branches farther and wider. 

The power which the pope, or bishop of Rome, 
had acquired over the people of Rome, by his sa- 
cred character, his rank, his magnificence, and his 
printely revenues, rendered him, by degrees, 
dreaded and courted by the emperors. His au- 
thority was in consequence enlarged; and the 
enormous pretensions which he now made, A\ere 
grounded on his being successor to the inheritance 
and the sovereignty of St. Peter. But \\-hen a rival 
of Rome became the seat of empire, the prelate of 
the ancient capital surveyed, with an eye of jealous 
indignation, the growing honours and authority of 
his brother of Constantinople ; and this gave rise to 
a new scene of warfare in the church. Every 
weapon which presented itself, was employed by 
the former, to check the rising independence of the 
latter ; but as yet he contended in vain, as the 
weight of the Eastern emperors was thrown into 
the scale of his competitor. The consequence 
howe\'er was, that the unchristian spirit of these 
ambitious rivals inflamed their; partisans tihrough- 
out x\sia and Europe, and contributed, in no small 
degree, to excite dissensions, and virulence, and a 
worldly temper, in the church. 


During the 6th century, the bishops of Rome 
and Constantinople still continued to be antago- 
nists, displaying a greater or less degree of animo- 
sity, till the consequence was, the final separation of 
the Eastern church from that of Rome, which took 
place in the 9th century, and forms a remarkable 
sera in the Christian church. In the mean time, 
darkness, and ignorance, and superstition, were 
daily graining ground ; and while, in tlie 7th century, 
the profession of Christianity became universal 
throughout our own island, and was extended in the 
East, to China, and the remotest parts of Asia, a 
new and tremendous scourge of Christianity arose 
in Mohammed, who had, by this time, established 
his imposture in Arabia, and whose zealous follow- 
ers were spreading it far and wide, — not in the way 
by which Christianity was at first propagated, but 
by fire and sword. But it is not necessary, in 
this work to give a detailed account of the his- 
tory of the Christian, church during the succeeding 
centuries,* and surely it cannot be agreeable; I 
shall therefore only observe, in general, that, from 

• The first sixteen centuries of the Chistian church are 
thus distinguished by Dr. Cave. 


































the 6th century to the 16th, it exhibits little else 
but a record of ignorance, superstition, tjTanny, 
and crimes. During this melancholy period, the 
night of spiritual barbarism, and religious slavery, 
brooded over the Christian world ; and the farther 
we advance, the darkness, instead of decreasing, 
seems still to thicken around us. The Roman 
pontiff established his authority, by flattering the 
powerful, and oppressing the weak ; and secured 
it, by encouraging the licentious, and corrupting 
the pure; by honouring the ambitious, however 
weak in mind, or vicious in morals ; and by re- 
pressing the humble, however splendid their ta- 
lents, or virtuous their conduct. Invested with 
temporal dominion, he not only guided the con- 
sciences, but disposed of the property and the 
lives, of men. 

So enslaved, indeed, was the condition of every 
order of the people, that the menace of his Holi- 
ness frightened the most powerful monarchs into 
compliance with his will; and the mandates that 
he issued, dissolved the allegiance of subjects, and 
dispossessed princes of their crowns ; and on the 
unchristian foundation of pride and ambition, a 
structure of religious worship and government was 
reared, externally splendid and attractive, but with- 
in dark and deformed. At times, a few rays of 
Christian truth were beheld; but they were so scat- 
tered and momentary, that they only shewed the 
greatness of the abounding iniquities more clearly; 



but neither dispelled the gloom, nor prevented its 
increase. In the 12th century, indeed, the Wal- 
denses appeared, who, driven by the persecution of 
the See of Rome, took shelter in the vallies of 
Piedmont, and from that sequestered retreat sent 
forth many champions for the truth. But though 
individuals, in different regions, embraced the real 
doctrines of Scripture, as distinguished from the 
prevailing superstition of the times, no general re- 
formation ensued. 

In the two succeeding centuries, Wickliffe in 
England, and Huss and Jerome of Prague,* in Bo- 
hemia, contended earnestly for the faith once deli- 
veved to the saints, and sowed the seeds of Chris- 
tian knowledge in their respective countries. These 
rcA ivals, though only partial, were, like the first 
faint rays of the morning which ti'emble on the 
tops of the mountains, the presages of a new and 
auspicious day : a day when the kingdom of Anti- 
christ was shaken to its centre, and when the na- 
tions, who had for nearly ten ages slumbered in 
their chains, were restored to liberty, by the ener- 
gy of the word and Spirit of God. The man who 
was honoured by Providence, to be the insti-ument 
of beginning, directing, and superintending, this 
astonishing dispensation of gi'ace, Avas Lut/ier, 

* For an account of the lives and opinions of Wickliffe, 
Huss, and Jerome of Prague, see Gilpin's Lives of (he 


whose life is almost a histor}'^ of the Refomnation. 
It was, from causes seemingly fortuitous, and from 
a source very inconsiderable, that all the mighty 
effects of the Reformation flowed. Leo X., when 
raised to the papal throne, found the revenues of 
the church exhausted ; and his own temper being 
naturally ostentatious, liberal, and enterprising, 
rendered him incapable of that severe and patient 
economy, which the situation of his finances re- 
quired. He therefore tried every device to drain 
the credulous multitude, and, among others, had 
recourse to a sale of indulgences. The right of 
promulgating these indulgences in Germany, to- 
getiier with a share of the profits arising from the 
sale of them, was granted to Albert, Elector of 
Mentz, and Archbishop of Magdeburg, Avho em- 
ployed, as his chief agent for retailing them in 
Saxony, Tetzel, a Dominican friar, of licentious 
morals, but of an active spirit, and remarkable for 
his noisy and popular eloquence. He assisted by 
the monks of his order, executed the commission 
with great zeal and success, but with little discre- 
tion or decency ; so that the extravagance of their 
assertions, and the irregularities of their conduct, 
came at length to give general offence ; and all be- 
gan to wish, that some check were given to this 
commerce, no less detrimental to society than de- 
structive to religion. 

Luther, on Tetzel's coming to Wittemberg in 
1517, scandalised at this venal remission of all sins, 


past, present, or to come;* exposed, with vehe- 
ment indignation, the impious tiaffic from the pul- 
pit and the press ; and his arguments, and his bold' 
ness, were equally admired throughout Germany. 
Undismayed by the opposition which he met with 
from the Emperor Charles V., as well as from 
Leo and his adherents, he went on with zeal and 
resolution, in the work which he had begun ; and, 
being soon ably seconded by Zuinglius, and other 
learned rr^en, the Reformation established itself 
rapidly in various parts of Germany, and in the 
gi-eater part of Switzerland. 

In the course of a few years, the reformed opi- 
nions gained converts, and extended their influ- 
ence in Holland, and various other countries of 
Europe. For an account of their introduction 
into this island under Henry VHL, see below, un- 
der the article United Church of England and Ire- 

" The corrupt state of the church," says Dr. 
Robertson, " prior to the Reformation, is ac- 
knowledged by an author, who w as both abun- 
dantly able to judge concerning this matter, and 
who was not over-forward to confess it. ' For 
some years before the Lutheran and Calvinistic 
heresies were published, diere was not (as con- 

♦ See the form of the indulgences at full length, in Dr. 
Robertson's Histary of Charles K., 8yo. 1782, vol. ii. p. 
lor, Note. 


temporary authors testify) any severity in eccle- 
siastical judicatories, any discipline with regard 
to morals, any knowledge of sacred literature, any 
reverence for divine things ; — there was not almost 
any religion remaining.'* Such a remarkable con- 
fession, '^ adds the Doctor, " made by the avowed 
champion of Popery, should not pass unnoticed by 
Protestants; and, before the enemies of Protestant- 
ism inveigh against the Reformation, let them 
consider its absolute necessity, and contemplate 
the innumerable advantages with which it was at- 

Soon after the reformation of corrupted Chris- 
tianity, by the blessing of God on the exertions of 
Luther and his associates, an event the most glo- 
rious that had occurred since the apostolic age, the 
active spirit of inquiry, natural to men who had 
just broken loose from the despotism of Popery, 
operating differently on different intellects and dis- 
positions, almost necessarily produced a variety of 
sects ; and, in some cases, gave birth to extreme 
wildness and extravagance of unscriptural doctrine 
and practice. One great source of contention re- 
spected ceremonies and church government. 

Some Protestant churches, regarding with ab- 
horrence whatever had been an appendage of the 
Romish religion, renounced, together with ancient 
rites, the primeval institution of Episcopacy. 
Others were of opinion, that it was more wise to 

^ Bellermine. 


preserve whatever was in itself innocent, and to be 
content with the removal of con'uptions. Points 
of docti-ine also furnished grounds of division ; and 
all tliis afforded matter of triumph to the adherents 
of the church of Rome, and impeded the progress 
of the Reformation. And the controversies among 
the reformers, some of whom long retained a por- 
tion of the virulent spirit of Popery, were too often 
conducted, even when they related to matters of 
secondary importance, with the violence and acri- 
mony by which, in opposing the Roman Catlio- 
lics, a good cause had been disgraced. 

The controversy between Protestants and Pa- 
pists has existed, and been carried on, witli more 
or less violence, from the Reformation to the pre- 
sent day; and a minute attention to the different 
aspects which it has assumed, and to the succes- 
sive controversies wliich have arisen among Pro- 
testants themselves, might serve to discriminate 
the religious character of the intervening ages. 

During the 16th century, the chief controversy 
among the reformers was about the clerical habits, 
and the rites and ceremonies of the church. Ano- 
ther, and by far more important controversy among 
Protestants, was concerning the form of church 
government. This broke out before the close of 
Queen Elizabeth's reign; and was first agitated 
between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and 
afterwards with the Independents, and at last, with 
other concurring circumstances, produced those 


dreadful calamities, by which the middle of the 
17th century was convulsed in Britain. 

The Arminian controversy may be reckoned the 
next, by which the Protestant church was divided. 
Previous to the accession of King James VI., the 
docti-ines of predestination, and of the persever- 
ance of the saints, had been opposed; but it was 
not till after the Synod of Dort, which took place 
A. D. 1618, that divines began to range them- 
selves under the banners of Calvin and Arminius. 
James displayed a fiery zeal against the Arminian 
party in Holland ; but they were favoured at home, 
both by himself and his son;. and, towards the 
close of the 17th century, Arminianism, some- 
what modified, was supported by Archbishop Til- 
lotson, Dr. Barrow, and others of distinguished 
eminence in the church. During the last century, 
the sentiments of by far the greater part of the 
clergy of the church of England have been Armi- 
nian ; but a violent discussion has been excited of 
late, in regard to those of her first reformers, and 
whether the language and spirit of her articles be 
Arminian or Calvinistic. 

Soon after the commencement of the Reforma- 
tion, the Divinity of Christ was questioned and 
opposed. Dui'ing the 17th century, the opinions 
of Socinus were favoured by few in Britain. In 
the early part of the last century, several persons 
began to speculate on these points, who, in gene- 
ral, appear to have adopted the Arian hypothesis ; 


but, from the middle to the close of the centmy, 
Socinianism met with many open and avowed de- 
fenders ; and its progress among the people, it was 
boasted, m as rapid and extensive. As this contro- 
versy respects the object of worship, and the me- 
thod of acceptance with God, all, who are not 
wholly indifferent to religion, must admit, that it 
reaches to the very foundation of vital godliness. 

Infidelity also began to raise its head soon after 
the era of the Reformation ; and during the last 
century, a great variety of publications, professedly 
deistical, and of others artfully adapted to instil the 
same principles, though less avowedly, made their 
appearance both at home and abroad; and few 
can be ignorant of the success with Avhich the ac- 
tive exertions of their authors and abettors have 
been attended on the continent of Europe. And, 
notwithstanding the severe check that infidelity 
has of late met with, partly from the friends of 
Christianity, and partly from the more known bit- 
terness of its fruits, it is supposed, that it is still 
prevalent among the literary and philosophical part 
of the community throughout Europe, if not wide- 
ly diffused through the body of the people. But 
however this may be, it may safely be afiirmed, 
that religion has not that hold of the public mind, 
nor that influence over individual conduct, which 
it formerly had ; and that, instead of profiting so 
much as we ought to have done, by all the ad- 
vantages that have accrued to us in consequence 
of, and since the Reformation, our progress seems 


to have been, from questioning things indifferent, 
to proceed to question those of importance ; and 
from what is important, to question those which 
are essential,' — till at last revelation itself is assail- 
ed, and rejected by many. And however the pro- 
fessing Christians of the present day may excel our 
forefathers in our active zeal to evangelise the hea- 
then, and disseminate the knowledge of Christiani- 
ty among those who are still sitting " in darkness, 
and in the shadow of death, — without hope, and 
without God in the world:" it is I fear, too plain, 
that we come short of them in exhibiting the fruits 
and effects of Christianity by our lives and con- 
duct, and thereby shewing forth the praises of 
Him who hath called iis " out of darkness into his 
m:>rvellous light." 

See Eusebii, Socratis, Theodoreti, Evagri, Sec. 
Historice ^cc/^j-. ; Vallesii, 3 vol. fol. 1678; Ec- 
hard's, Dupin's, and Mosheim's Eccles. Histories; 
together with Millar's History of Christianity^ 2 
vols. 8vo. and Milner's History of the Church of 

Evidences. — In proof of his religion, the 
Christian has some uncontested, and incontestable 
points, to Mhich the history of the human species 
has nothing similar to offer, — " nil simile aut secun- 
dum." A Jewish peasant changed the religion of 
the world, and that without force, without power, 
without support ; without one natural source or cir- 
cumstance of attraction, influence, or success. 

VOL. I. D d 


Such a thing hath not happened in any other in- 
stance whatsoever, and plainly bespeaks a fuind 
divine. In addition to this, the great tmths of 
Christianit}' possess evidence, — clear, uncontro- 
vertible evidence, — evidence that has been ac- 
kno^^•ledged by the wisest and best of men ; — not 
by priests only, whom infidels affect to despise; 
but by the Bacons, Boyles, Lockes, Miltons, Nel- 
sons, Newtons, and Hallers of every age. They 
possess an e\ idence, not WTitten with pen and ink^, 
nor yet inscribed on the fleshy tables of man's 
heart; but the evidence of the Spirit, " whom they 
that believe on Jesus shall receive." — " In this 
sense, tliough the miraculous communication of 
the Spii'it be ceased, he that belie^'es hath still the 
witness in himself; and while the Spirit beareth 
witness with his spirit, that he is a child of God, 
he cannot dou]")t, but that the word by which he 
was, as it w ere, begotten unto him, is indeed a di- 
vine and incorruptible seed. And perhaps there 
are certain seasons of pressing temptation, in which 
the most learned, as well as the most illiterate 
Christian, will find tliis the surest anchor of his 

But as this kind of evidence is, in a manner^ 
perso7ial, God has made other provision for the 
honour and support of Christianity, by furnish- 
ing it with a variety of pi oof, which may, with 

* Dr. Dodflrif'ue's three sermons on the Evidences of 
Christianity, (p 12. edit. 1803,) recommended by the late 
Bishop of London. 


undiminished, and, indeed, with growing convic- 
tion, be communicated from one to another. The 
subject does not, indeed, admit of strict demon- 
stration ; but of the truth of his rehgion the Chris- 
tian has a moral certainty^ i. e. such kind, and such 
a degree, of evidence, as suits past matters of fact, 
and is sufficient to make a candid and rational in- 
quirer easy in his assent. In many cases, such 
kind of evidence gives the mind as ample, and as 
rational a satisfaction, as it may find even in some 
supposed mathematical demonstrations. The evi- 
dences of Christianity have been divided into ex- 
ternal and internal^ and are briefly comprised un- 
der — historical testimony, — the miracles recorded 
in the New Testament, — the exact accomplish- 
ment of the prophecies, — the rapid spread of the 
gospel, notwithstanding the most violent opposi- 
tion, — the consistency of the several parts of the 
inspired pages ^ith each other, — the purity and 
perfection of its doctrines and precepts, — their 
agreement with the moral attributes and perfec- 
tions of the Deity, — their suitableness with the 
present state of man, and their benevolent tenden- 
cy to promote the good of society, and advance the 
present, as well as future happiness of mankind. 

These evidences have been ably stated and il- 
lustrated by various champions of Christianit}'-, 
both at home and abroad, partly for the more full 
confirmation of the Christian faith, and partly with 
a view to refute the cavils and objections of un- 


Christianity may, indeed, thank its opponents 
for much new hght, from time to time, thrown on 
the sublime excellence of its nature, and the mani- 
festation of its truth ; opponents are, hi one sense, 
more welcome than its friends, as they do it signal 
service, \\ ithout running it in debt, and have no 
demand on the Christian's gi^atitude for the favours 
which diey confer. The stronger its adversaries, 
the greater its triumph ; the more it is disputed, 
the more indisputably will it shine ; in every de- 
bate it comes, like fine gold out of the furnace, 
which the more it is tried, the more it is approved. 
Or, in the beautiful language of Bishop Home, all 
objections, when considered and ans^vered, turn 
out " to tlie advantage of the gospel, which resem- 
bles a fine country in the spring season, where the 
very hedges are in bloom, and every thorn produ- 
ces a floAver."* So that we may safely conclude, 
with the learned Dr. Clarke, tliat the evidence 
which God has afforded for the truth of our reli- 
gion, is abundantly sufficient; and that the cause 
of men's infidelity, is not the want of better evi- 
dence, but the dominion of their passions, which 
pre\'ents them from hearkening to any reasonable 

If die Celsi and Porphyrii have been numerous, 
Christianity has never wanted its Justins and its 
Origens. Besides die ancient apologists and de- 
fenders, to whom the reader is referred, as also 

* Sermons, vol. iii. p. 99. 


to Fabricius,* Huetius,t and WalchiuSjJ there are 
many and excellent works on the evidences and 
truth of the Christian religion, to which all have ac- 
cess ; and, among these, he may have recourse to 
one or more of the well-kno^vn treatises of Grotius, 
Addison, Bryant, Leslie, Lardner, Beattie, and Pa- 
ley. As a " kind of elementary introduction" to 
those masterly writings on that subject, the late 
Bishop of London has published A Summary of 
the Principal Evidences for the Truth amd Divi?ie 
Origin of the Christian Religion; than which none 
has ever yet been presented to the public in a more 
methodical and familiar fonn, or better calculated 
for the instruction of youth, for whose use it was 
chiefly designed. 

Doctrines and Precepts. — After being sa- 
tisfied that the Chi'istian religion comes from God, 
the next step is, to inquire carefully what that reli- 
gion is, — what the doctrines are which it requii'es 
us to believe, — and what the duties which it com- 
mands us to perform. 

Almost all Christians, of all denominations, ap- 
peal to the scriptures of the Old and New Testa- 
ment as tlie ultimate standard, the only infallible 

* Fabricii (Albert!) Delectus ArgU7nentorum et Syllabus 
Scrifitorum qui veritatem Religionis Christianx., adversus 
Atheos, Rpicuros, Deistas, iS'c. iP'c. asseruerunt. Hamb, 4to. 

t P. Dan. Hueiii, Deinonstratio Evangelica ; fol. Paris, 
1679, or edit 1690. 

\ Walchii Introductio ad Theol. Folemicamj 8vo, 1752, 


rule of faith and manners ; and they agree in re- 
jecting, as an article of Jaith^ whatever is not ac- 
tually expressed in, or deduced by fair and neces- 
S2JJ consequence from, these wTitings, which they 
believe to have been given by immediate inspira- 
tion from God. And, though the authority of one 
inspired writer, where it is clear and unequivocal, 
is sufficient for the establishment of any article of 
faith, yet the principles of the Christian religion are 
to be collected, neither from a single Gospel, nor 
from all the four Gospels, nor from the four Gos- 
pels with the Acts and Epistles, but from the whole 
code of revelation, consisting of the canonical books 
of the Old and New Testament. 

Christianity may be divided into credenda^ or 
doctrines, aud ageiida, or precepts : a summary of 
the former is contained in what is commonly called 
the Apostles' Creed; and the latter may be col- 
lected from the discourses of our Saviour, and the 
writings of his apostles. 

The beina: and the attributes of God are truths 
which lie at the root of all religion. The eternal 
existence and the attiibutes of the Deity ; his om- 
nipresence; his infinite power, wisdom, and good- 
ness ; his holiness ; his justice ; and his other un- 
bounded perfections, — were inculcated on the Jews 
by express revelation ; and the same fundamental 
truths form the ground-work of Christianity. In 
this indivisible essence most Christians recognise 
three distinct subsistences, yet distinguished in 
such a manner as not to be incompatible with essen- 


tial unity, or simplicity of being. Nor is their es- 
sential union incompatible with their personal dis- 
tinction. Each of them possesses the same nature 
and properties, and to the same extent. As, there- 
fore, they are constituent of one God, if the expres- 
sion may be used, there is none of them subordi- 
nate, none supreme. They are seAerally termed — - 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; and the 
only way by which we can discriminate them, is, 
by their various relations, properties, and offices. 
Thus the Father is said eternally to beget the Son, 
the Son to be eternally begotten of the Father, and 
the Holy Ghost eternally to proceed from both. 
The 77iode of union existing between these three 
persons in the Godhead, is to us unknown and in- 
comprehensible ; it is therefore in vain to attempt 
to explain it, because God hath not unfolded it to 
man ; but we acknowledge the Trinity of persons, 
and the union between them, because these he hath 
been pleased to reveal to us in the Scriptures. 

The other leading doctrines of the New Test- 
ament, which either are peculiar to the Christian 
religion, or have received from this religion such 
additional illustration as to require to be separately 
noticed, may be ranked imder four heads ; the first, 
relating to the corruption of human nature ; the 
second, to the remed}' for this corru})tion, or to the 
nature and offices of Jesus Christ ; the third, to the 
application of the remedy, or to the nature and 
offices of the Holy Ghost ; and the fourth, to tlie 
resurrection, and the future judgment. 


1. Besides the other evils and misfortunes which 
our first parents brought upon themselves, by list- 
ening to the suggestions of Satan, so as to break 
that single commandment, the observance of which 
God had enjoined as the test of their obedience ; 
they lost their original holiness and righteousness, 
'■^the image and likeness of Jehovah in which they 
were created, and their nature became depraved 
and corrupted ; so that all mankind have ever since 
been, by nature, inclined to that which is evil, and 
backward to that which is good. The influence of 
this original depravation of nature, affects every in- 
dividual, and at every period of life. It is an inter- 
nal enemy always at work ; but operating in the most 
dangerous manner, w^hen the concurrence of favour- 
able circumstances arms it with additional force. It 
perverts the inclinations of men ; darkens the under- 
standing ; adds strength to passion, efficacy to temp- 
tation ; disposes the heart to evil, and indisposes it 
to good. 

To this corruption of our nature, the Christian 
scriptures, in recording the wonders of that plan of 
redemption, by which its fatal consequences were 
to be removed, refer, directly or indirectly, on many 
occasions, and in the clearest manner ; and it is in- 
deed on that coiTuption, that the whole plan of 
Christianity is established. Nor do we believe it 
merely as a truth clearly revealed in scripture ; the 
universaF corruption of our nature is also a fact de- 
monstrated by experience. 


The history of the Jews, the chosen people of 
God, notwithstanding the many and eminent ad- 
vantages that they enjoyed, and the powerful mo- 
tives \\'hich should have influenced them to reli- 
gious obedience ; still the history of this people, 
from their origin to their dispersion by the Ro- 
mans, is little other than a practical and unbroken 
exemplification of the native coiTuption of the hu- 
man heart. The blindness and wickedness of the 
ancient Gentile world, which, enjoying much faint- 
er gleams of religious light, became proportionally 
immersed in blacker depths of ignorance and pro- 
fligacy ; the continuance of the same state of dark- 
ness and guilt in regions not yet iiTadiated by 
revelation; the lamentable prevalence of ^vicked- 
ness among those who enjoy the full light of the 
gospel ;— all these facts unite in attesting and ex- 
emplifying the same corruption.* 

2. The scriptures are no less explicit with re- 
gard to another doctrine ; I mean, that there is a 
remedy for this corruption provided by the Al- 
might}', and that not as a debt owing to man, but 
as the free bounty of divine grace ; that to repair 
this and all the other evils brought upon the hu- 
man race by our first parents, and to bruise the 
head of the serpent, the devil, who, by corrupting 
them, had entailed sin and misery on a ruined 

* For some idea of the prevailing opinions on this sub- 
ject, see Mr. Inchbald's Sermon, eniitled ^ brief and im- 
fiartial View of the two most generally received Theories qf 
the Fall of Man ^ audits conseg'wence*.— Doncaster, 1805. 
VOL. I. E e 


Avorld, God was graciously pleased to send his own 
Son into the Avorld. 

Man had sinned, and death, the penalty of sin, 
must be suffered in the same nature wherein it 
was incurred; but man could not undergo this 
penalty, and suffer all the consequences of sin, 
A\ithout being for ever excluded from happiness 
and heaven. In compassion therefore to our ruin- 
ed and hopeless state, /Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, left the bosom of his Father in heaven, took 
our nature upon him, and by his meritorious death 
and passion, by what he did and suffered in our 
stead, redeemed us from the fatal consequences of 
the fall, restored us to the favour of God, and 
" opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." 

This doctrine of the atonement for sin, made in 
our nature by Jesus Christ, the Son of God him- 
self, and bodi God and man in one person, together 
with the principles on ^vhich it is founded, and the 
consequences naturally flowing from it, distinguish- 
es the Christian religion from all other religions 
whatever. It contams the great charter of the 
Christian church, and is the title by which we 
claim all the benefits and promises of the gospel : 
the hopes peculiar to believers are built upon this 
great article, and whatever advantages and favours 
we pretend to under the gospel, more than can be 
•claimed upon the terms of justice, and what is call- 
ed natural religion, are to be ascribed to this only, 
that " Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners;" that he suffered " death upon the cross 


for our redemption," and there made, (" by his 
one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, 
and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, 
for the sins of the whole world/'* 

3. But to redeem men from the displeasure of 
God, and leave them in an unavoidable condition 
to draw it upon themselves afresh every day, 
would have been an useless undertaking, and highly 
unworthy of him who was employed in it. To se- 
cure therefore to mankind the benefits of the re- 
demption, which he had purchased with his blood, 
it was necessary to enable them to become the sons 
of God, and to walk v.orthy of the high and holy 
vocation wherewith they were called. This also 
he did, by the powerful aids and assistance of the 
Holy Spirit. He promised to his disciples, that 
after his o\mi departure, he would send to them 
from the Father, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, 
to teach them all things — to shew them things to 
come — to bring to their remembrance whatsoever 
he himself had said to them — to guide them into 
all truth — to endue them with power from on high 
— and to enable them to make good their cause 
against all worldly opposition. 

These promises, made partly before, and partly 
after, his resuiTection from the dead, were faithfully 

* See two small but excellent tracts, the one entitled, A 
short Defence of the Doctrine of the Divviity of Christ, and 
the other, A short Defence of the Doctrine of Atonement for 
Sin by the Death of Christ,hy the deservedly much respect- 
ed Dr. Hey of Leeds. 



accomplished; for on the day of Pentecost, ten 
days after his ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit 
descended on the apostles, and abode with them, 
enabling them to speak ^ arious languages previous- 
ly unknow n to them, and to work various mira- 
cles in proof of their mission, and for the establish- 
ment of Christianity in the world. 

When it no longer needed for its support and 
progress, such visible and wonderful interpositions 
of divine poAver, they were gradually withdrawn ; 
but the influence of the Holy Ghost has since con- 
tinued to be exercised principally in another most 
important and necessary ofiice, an office in which 
it was also employed no less actively in the days of 
the apostles, that of enlightening the understand- 
ing, and converting and sanctifying the heart of 
each particular Christian : for which purposes, and 
in the exercise of all his ordinary and saving gifts 
and gi-aces, it will be essentially necessary for all 
Christians, without exception ; and will thus con- 
tinue with them to the end of the world. The ne- 
cessity of this divine influence on the heart, to re- 
form our nature, and renew us into holiness, and 
thereby make us " meet to be partakers of the in- 
heritance of the saints in light," is as universal as 
the corruption of our nature, and can be superseded 
by no amiableness of disposition, or sweetness of 
temper — by no supposed innocence of conduct — 
by no extent of knowledge — by no attainments — 
and, by no favourableness of circumstances or si- 
tuation whatsoever. 


Many are the proofs which the scriptures furnish 
of the divinity and the distinct personality both of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, whose benign in- 
fluences are thus necessary to qualify us for the en- 
joyment of the blessings purchased by Christ ; and 
though in regard to the jnode of their union with 
the Father, and their partaking of the Godhead widi 
him, many things remain unexplained, and are pro- 
bably inexplicable to man ; yet, if this is plainly re- 
vealed in scripture, its mysteriousness can afford 
no argument for hesitating to receive it, as God, 
we may rest assured, will not deceive us on any 
point, and the authority of the revealer furnishes a 
sufficient ground of belief. 

4. With regard to our Lord's having brought 
" life and immortality to light by the gospel,*' it 
may be observed, that in all ages, and in every na- 
tion of the world, almost all mankind have acted, 
or have professed to act, under the persuasion of a 
state of rewards and punishments in another life : 
but before the revelation of the gospel, the prospect 
beyond the grave lay much in the dark : and though 
men in general believed in a future state, they had 
but confused notions of its nature and duration, or 
by what duties and observances in this life the fa- 
vour of heaven might be secured to them in that 
which is to come. All the natural and moral argu- 
ments for the immortality of the soul, were onlj- 
presumptions, or highly probable conjectures. They 
were too abstruse to make a general or a durable 



- impression on the vulgar, and to philosophers them- 
selves they carried no permanent conviction.* But 
in a matter of such extreme importance, the mind 
could not repose itself with satisfactor}^ assurance 
on mere speculations. How therefore were they 
to be set at rest, but by a free communication of 
the truth, in terms which could not be misunder- 
stood, and from authority which could not be ques- 
tioned ? Christianity has made this communica- 
tion ; it has lifted up the veil which hung over eter- 
nity. It has revealed to man, that in the unknown 
and unbounded realms of Omnipotence, an habita- 
tion is reserved for him ; an habitation of bliss, or 
of misery, according to his conduct upon earth. It 
has revealed to him, that all his thoughts, and 
words, and actions, shall be examined in the pre- 
sence of assembled men and angels, on tlie great 
day appointed for judgment, before the throne of 
•lesus Christ, a\ ho is ordained by the Father to be 
judge both of quick and dead. It has revealed to 
man, that his mortal body shall be raised from the 
grave ; shall be re-united to his soul ; shall be ren- 
dered, like his soul, immortal ; and, shall be par- 
taker with it of reward, or of punishment. The 
state of happiness, and the state of misery, severally 
prepared for the righteous, and for the ungodly and 

* Cicero, speaking of this subject, describes himself as 
•• dubiians, circujiispectans, hscsitans, tancjuam ratis in mari 
immense veliitur." — Tuscui. Quccst. lib. i. c. 30. See also 
•".. 1 1, and Tacitus De Vita Jgric. 


the wicked, are not described to us in detail ; no 
doubt, for wise and good reasons. To the glories 
of heaven we may well apply the words of the 
apostle : " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, 
the things which God hath prepared for them that 
love him."* The same description, it is probable, 
might be applied to the punishments which await 
the wicked. With respect, however, to that hap- 
piness and that misery, two things seem, in the opi- 
nion of most Christians, to be clear ; that each is 
great in the extreme ; and that each is unchange- 
able and eternal. The rest is conveyed in general 
terms, adapted to impress on the heart those great 
and momentous truths. 

Various subordinate doctrines might be men- 
tioned here, did our limits permit. From those 
now stated, it must appear, that Christianity is not, 
as some pretend, " only a republication of the reli- 
gion of nature," nor merely " a refined system of 
ethics," according to others ; but the power of God 
unto our salvation, or the revelation of the wisdom 
and goodness of God, in tiie restoration of fallen 
man to the favour of his Maker, through the atone- 
ment made by Christ in their behalf The late 
Lord Bishop of London, speaking of this atone- 
ment, observes, that it is " without dispute, the 
great distinguishing character of the Christian dis- 
pensation, the wall of" partition between natural and 

* I Corinth, ch^. ii. v. 9. 



revealed religion, the main foundation of all our 
hopes of pardon, and acceptance hereafter/'"* 

This, however, and almost every other peculiar 
doctrine of Christianity, has been disputed and re- 
jected, not only by unbelievers, but by some pro- 
fessing Christians or other, as will appear in the 
sequel of this work ; but whether received or de- 
nied, the fundamental principles and grand doc- 
trines of our religion, will remain, like their divine 
Author, " the same yesterday, to-day, and for 
ever :" whilst their influence has been progressive, 
their nature and character have been invariably the 
same ; and though in the progress of theological 
researches, and of natural science, they may be 
further illustrated, they have not been, and cannot 
be, thereby improved. < I shall only observe farther 
on this head, that as the articles of our holy faith 
may be founded on reasons, which we do not know, 
so the belief or rejection of them may have conse- 
quences which we cannot foresee.} 

But Christianit}^ is not merely a rule o{ faith, but 
at the same time a rule of life and manners; it is a 
practical thing, and it is heard, it is believed, it is 
professed, and even defended in vain, if it be not 

Its precepts are unquestionably holy imd ex- 
cellent; and though neither theology nor mora- 
lity is taught in tlie gospel in a regular, system - 

* Discourse on the due observation of Good Friday. 


atic manner ; yet the purest morality is there 
taught in all its just and noble extent, as taking in 
the whole of our duty towards God, our neighbour, 
and ourselves. The idea which it gives of piety 
towards God is venerable, amiable, and engagino- ; 
the external w orship of God which it prescribes, is 
pure and spiritual, and hath a noble simplicity in 
it ; and its public ordinances, as instituted in the 
gospel, are few in number, easy of observation, and 
excellent in their use and significancy. 

And not only does Christianity give the most 
excellent directions, as to the duties which we 
more immediately owe to God, but it also lays 
great stress oa all social duties, and social virtues, 
which it hath a manifest tendency to promote and 
improve. The two grand principles of action, ac- 
cording to this religion, are the love of God, which 
is the sovereign passion in every pious mind ; and 
the love of man, which regulates our actions ac- 
cording to the various relations in which we stand, 
whether to communities or individuals. Nor can 
this last, the love which Christianity inspires and 
inculcates, ever be wholly extinguished by any 
temporary injuries, but is extended in some degree 
even to enemies. It requires, that we should par- 
don the offences of others, as we expect pardon for 
our own more heinous offences against God ; and 
that we should no farther resist evil than is neces- 
sary for the preservation of personal rights and so- 
cial happiness. It dictates every relative and re- 

VOL. I. F f 


ciprocal duty between parents and children, mas- 
ters and senants, governors and subjects, hus- 
bands and wives, friends and friends, men and men; 
nor does it merely enjoin the observation of equity, 
but likewise inspires the most sublime and exten- 
sive charit}- ; a boundless and disinterested effu- 
sion of tenderness for the whole species, which 
feels their distress, and operates for their relief and 

As to the exercise of self-government, Christi- 
anity is manifestly designed to correct, to reform, 
and to improve human r^ture. It teaches us not 
only to regulate the outward actions, but the in- 
ward affections and dispositions of the soul : to 
labour after real purity of heart, simplicity, and 
godly sincerity, as tliat, without which no outward 
appearances can be pleasing m the sight of God, 
whom it describes as of purer eyes than to behold 
iniquity. It strikes at the root of ail our corrup- 
tions and disorders, by obliging us to coiTect that 
inordinate self-love, which causes us to centre all 
our views in our own pleasure, or glory, or interest, 
and by instructing and enabling us to mortify and 
subdue our sensual appetites and passions. It is 
designed to assert the dominion of the rational and 
moral powers, oa er the inferior part of our nature, 
or of the spirit over the flesh, a\ hich alone can lay 
a just foundation for that moral liberty, and that 
tranquillity of mind, w hich it is the design of all 
true philosophy, and all true religion, to procure 
and establish. 


In short, it inculcates a morality, not only supe- 
rior to the deductions of human reason, but enforc- 
ed on new principles and motives, and strengthen- 
ed by fresh considerations, derived from the high- 
est source, and directed to the noblest end. 

Hence we may conclude that, whatever differen- 
ces of opinion may arise on the subject of some of 
the docti'ines of Christianity, every attempt that can 
be made to depreciate the morals which it incul- 
cates, must recoil in an instant, and fall directly 
either upon the understanding, or the integrity of 
him that undertakes it.* How wonderful is it, 
that they " should be so framed as continually to 
give a sanction to virtue of every kirid^ and in every 
stage of its progi^ession, whether its improvements 
happen to be quicker or slower ! How astonishing, 
that moral precepts, published as they were, should 
be thought more and more excellent, according to 
the advancement men make in virtue, taste, and 
wisdom! I verily believe this to be the fact; and, 
if it is, how absurd does it make the supposition 
appear, that such morals could be invented by a set 
di fishermen and mechanics !''''\ Were Cicero now 
living, and were he to draw up (as he would be 
very likely to do) a scheme of human duty out of 
the New Testament ; putting it in his own method, 
and dressing it in his own way ; how would such a 
work appear, in comparison with his Offices, i. e. 

* Yet we are told in The Fable of the Bees, « that the 
Morality of the Gnspel is contrary to reason ! !" 
t Dr. Hey's JVorris, Led. Vol. II. p. 467. 


with the best system of heathen morals? As much 
superior, I doubt not, in the opinion of every un- 
prejudiced person, as his Offices are school-boy^s 
themes, or to the prattle of children. 

But the disciple of Christ not only contends, that 
TiSf system of religion has ever yet been exhibited 
so worthy of God, — so consistent with itself, — so 
suitable to the frame and circumstances of our fal- 
len nature, — and so consonant to all the dictates of 
reason and sound philosophy, as Christianity : he 
likewise avers, that it is beyond comparison more 
pregnant with real consolation, — with genuine com- 
fort and delight, — and infinitely more productive 
of the present welfare, and temporal happiness of 
mankind, than any other religious scheme, or phi- 
losophical tenets, that have ever yet been proposed 
to their belief and acceptance in any age or coun- 
try of the world. It is more pregnant with ge- 
nuine comfort^ and real consolation; for, without 
entering into particulars, it may be said, in brief, 
that as this earth is but a speck in the creation, 
as time is not an instant in proportion to eternity, 
such are all the trials, and losses, and misfortunes, 
and difficulties, to which the Christian can be ex- 
posed here, in comparison of the present comforts 
which his religion affords, and the hopes and pros- 
pects which it holds out to him hereafter. And 
as to its most salutary and beneficial influence on 
our most important temporal interests^ of this a 
thousand proofs might be produced from facts and 
long experience ; and, tliough its influence has by 


no means been so great, in any age or country, as 
could have been wished, yet, wherever it has at all 
prevailed, it has raised the general standard of mo- 
rals to a height before unknown. 

Its principles have diffused themselves over the 
regions of the intellect; and even speculative phi^ 
losophers, who have resisted its evidences, have 
been subdued by its amiable spirit. 

" It has mitigated the conduct of war, and the 
treatment of captives; it has softened the admi- 
nistration of despotic, or of nominally despotic go- 
vernments. It has abolished polygamy ; it has re- 
strained the licentiousness of divorces ; it has put 
an end to the exposure of children, and the immo- 
lation of sla^ es ;* it has suppressed the combats of 
gladiators,! and the impurities of religious rites; 
it has banished, if not unnatural vices, at least the 
toleration of them; it has greatly meliorated the 
condition of the laborious part, that is to say, of 
the mass of every community, by procuring for 
them a day of weekly rest. In all countries in 
which it is professed, it has produced numerous 
establishments for the relief of sickness aild po- 
verty ; and, in some, a regular and general provi- 

* Human sacrifices were by no means confined to slaves 
only, but prevailed to a degree almost incredible, through- 
out almost every region of the htathen world. See above 
p. 101 — 103. 

t These, we are told, sometimes cost Europe 20,000 w 
30,000 lives in a month- 


sioA by law. It has triumphed over the slavery 
established in the Roman empire:* it is contend- 
ing, and, I trust, will one day prevail, against the 
worse slavery of the West Indies/'f To all this 
it may be added, that Christianity has not only pu- 
rified, or " softened, the administration^^ of justice, 
but it has insensibly worked itself into the inmost 
frame and constitution of civil societies. It has 
given a tinge to the complexion of their govern- 
ments, and to the temper of their laws. It does 
not enjoin, or prescribe, any peculiar form of go- 
vernment; for with the kingdoms of this world, 
^nd the various modes of civil institutions, it dis- 
claims all concern ; but it inculcates a peaceful and 
dutiful submission to all la^^'ful superiors, — to 
" every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake ;"| 
and it regulates the respective duties of those that 
govern, as well as of those who are governed. 

" But the benefit of religion," as Dr. Paley fur- 
ther observes, " being felt chiefly in the obscurity 
of private stations, necessarily escapes the obser- 
vation of history. From the first general notifica- 
tion of Christianity to the present day, there have 
been, in every age, many millions, whose names 
were never heard of, made better by it, not only in 
their conduct, but in their disposition ; and happier, 

* This triumph was not fully obtained till the 13th cen- 

t Dr. Pafey's Evidences of Christianity, vol. II. p. 380. 
\ 1 Peter ii. 13. 


not so much in their external circumstances, as in 
that which is inter pracordia^ in that which alone 
deserves the name of happiness, tlie tranquilhty 
and consolation of their thoughts. It has been, 
since its commencement, the author of happiness 
and virtue to millions and millions of the human 

It has descended into families, has diminished 
the pressure of pri^'ate tyranny, improved every do- 
mestic endearment, given tenderness to the parent, 
humanity to the master, respect to superiors, to 
inferiors security and ease; and left, in short, the 
most evident traces of its most benevolent spirit in 
all the various subordinations, dependencies, and 
connexions of social life. " I should love the reli- 
gion of Christ," says Dr. Knox, " even as a hea- 
then philosopher and philanthropist, for its benefi- 
cent effects on the human race. It is the guide of 
youth, the support of age, the repose of the weary, 
and the refuge of the miserable. It arrests the 
hand of the oppressor, by appalling his conscience ; 
or, if happly the oppressor should prevail, it teaches 
the oppressed to look with confidence to a Deli- 
verer, mighty to save.'^* 

* On The JVature of the Sacrament of the Lord's Sufi- 
fierf p. 259.; see also Bishop Poneus's late valuable tract 
on The Beneficial Effects of Christianity on the Temporal 
Concerns of Mankind, firoved from History and from Facts ; 
where the reader, who wishes further satisfaction on this 
subject, will find it very ably treated, and sa in the clear- 
est and most convincing light. 


The earliest fathers, if carefully examined, will 
be the best witnesses of the doctrines, which ob- 
tained in the first and purest ages of the church, 
as well as of the ecclesiastical orders and rules, 
Jl which have the authority of apostolic institution ; 
and from these, together with the Scriptures, to 
which they may serve as occasional interpreters, 
will be best deduced the merits and demerits of 
die general systems of Christian theology which 
now prevail in the world. 

For a more full account of the doctrines and 
duties of Christianity, the following books may 
likewise be consulted with advantage; — Dr. Ham- 
mond on The Fundamentals^ in the first volume of 
his works ; Bishop Pearson On the Creed; Bishop 
Bull's works; Bishop GastrelFs Christian Insti- 
tutes; and Mr. Gisbome's Survey of the Qhristian 

Worship, Rites, and Ceremonies. — The 
worship of God is a natural duty, resulting from 
the contemplation of his attributes, and a sense of 
our dependence upon him; the obligation oi public 
worship, though very generally practised in every 
age and nation, is less evident, and seems to be 
derived from revelation. It is expressly enjoined 
by Christianit}^ ; yet the Quietists, and some other 
mystic divines, set aside, not only the use of pub- 
lic^ but even of all external., worship. 

The true Christian worship is the worship of the 


''* one only God," through " the only one Mediator 
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." It 
consists of prayers and praises ; and it has become 
a matter of no small debate since the Reformation, 
whether it is most properly and acceptably per- 
formed by preconcerted forms or liturgies, or by 
extemporaneous addresses to the Almighty. A 
considerable difference of opinion also subsists 
among Christians in regard to the object of wor- 
ship. Trinitarians pray to one God in three per- 
sons. Unitarians address God m the person of the 
Father only. Moravians pray only to Christ ; but 
they tell us, that, as they consider him a divine 
person, and the agent betwen God and man, their 
devotions are directed to one God. The Sweden- 
borgians likewise address all their prayers to Jesus 
Christ, because they believe he is the supreme and 
only God of heaven and earth ; being " the invisi- 
ble and unapproachable Deity, made visible and 
approachable in a divine human form ; and there- 
fore alone to be worshipped." Roman Catholics 
pray to the Virgin Mary, and other saints, but 
they profess to address them only as intercessors 
and mediators, and that one God is the ultimate 
object of their religious worship. 

Christianity has, indeed, been much obscured 
and polluted by a base mixture of idolatry and su- 
perstition ; but, when viewed in its native purity and 
simplicity, and as delivered by its Author, it con- 
tains less of ritual, and that more simple and s :'irit- 
ual, than is to be foimd in any religion, which ever 

VOL. I. G g 


prevailed among mankind. The numerous rites 
and ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation, though 
wisely suited to that time and state, were marks of 
the imperfection of that economy, and are now abo- 
Hshed. Christianity sets apart one day in seven 
for public worship, and the more immediate ob- 
servsnce of religious duties ; it prescribes a very 
short but excellent prayer for general use, and as a 
model, but not as an exclusive form ; and its ordi- 
nances, as instituted in the gospel, are few in num- 
ber, easy of observation, and of valuable tendency. 
By the rite of baptism, we are initiated or intro- 
duced into the Christian church ; and in the other 
sacramental^ the Lord's Supper, we profess our 
continuance in the same, and lay in our claim for 
all the blessings of the Christian covenant ; and the 
only sacrifices required of us, are those of our irre- 
gular appetites and passions ; or the renunciation of 
our spiritual enemies, the devil, the world, and the 

See Archbishop King on The Inventions of Men 
in the IForship of God, 

Church Government, and Officers. — 
The Christian church is represented in scripture, 
not merely as a sect^ i. e, a number of men profess- 
ing some particular opinions or docti'ines, but not 
united together under any particular form of go- 
vernment; but a society^ by which is meant a num- 
ber of men, united ' >r joined together by certain 
particular laws, under the government of proper 


officers, who have power to execute these laws, and 
to punish the transgressors of them, in the \v?^y and 
manner prescribed by the Law-giver or Founder 
©f the society. 

On the subjects of this head there was almost no 
difference of opinion among Christians in the first 
and purest ages of the church ; Christianity does 
not set apart any certain tribe or set of men, who 
are exclusively eligible to sacred offices, as was the 
case among the Jews ; but a solemn separation to 
the due performance of them by episcopal ordina- 
tion, as well as a subordination of church ministers, 
was almost universally acknowledged till the ccra 
of the Reformation. 

In every society, civil or ecclesiastical, some spe- 
cies of government is requisite for the good of the 
whole, otherwise all is irregularity and confusion ; 
and till the period now mentioned, the Christian 
church was indisputably episcopal ; but since then, 
it has been much questioned by some, whether 
Christ, or his apostles, enjoined the uniform adop- 
tion of episcopacy, and left any command, which 
rendered it universally indispensible in future tiaies, 
and in every countiy. Till then this question be 
fully decided, how is the Christian church, in any 
particular country, to be governed ? " EA'ery sepa- 
rate congregation," answers the Independejit, " is a 
sovereign church ; amenable to no extrinsic juris- 
diction, and entitled to no jurisdiction over other 


" That mode of government," replies the Pres- 
byterian, " is calculated to destroy unity, co-opera- 
tion, and concord among Christians. All congre- 
gations \\ ithin die same state, which agree in doc- 
trine, ought to be under the general superintendence 
of a representative assembly, composed of their mi- 
nisters and delegates." " Such a representative as- 
sembly," returns the Episcopalian, " wants vigour 
and despatch ; and is perpetually open to tumult, 
partiality, and faction. Divide the country into dio- 
ceses ; and station a bishop in each, armed with suf- 
ficient authority, and restrained by adequate laws 
from abusing it. Such was the apostolical govern- 
ment of the church — such," perhaps he adds, " was 
the government enjoined on succeeding ages." 
" Away !" cries the Papist, " with these treasonable 
discussions. The Pope, the successor of St. Peter, 
is, by divine right, the only source of ecclesiastical 
power; the miiversal Monarch of the universal 

Such are the different opinions of the moderns 
on the subject of church government; but most de- 
nominations agree in this, that though the church 
may be connected \\ ith the state, and though this 
latter may nominate to church benefices, yet it has 

* Mr. Gisborne's Survey of the Christian Religion,\>. 496. 
3d edit. To tliis work, which has been well received by 
the public, I am happy to acknowledge my obligations for 
much of what the reader will find on sevend heads of this 
ariicle ; and it, in ». manner, forms the ground-wuik of what 
is here said on the head of Doctrines in particular. 


no power whatsoever to confer authority for mi- 
nistering in holy things, or even to annul that 
authority when regularly conferred ; and that in 
these respects, and in regard to every essential 
of Christianity, the church always was, and will 
ever continue distinct from, and independent of, 
the state. 

See Lord King's Enquiry into the Constitution^ 
Discipline^ Unity^ and Worship of the Primitive 
Churchy and the able answer to it by (Mr. Sclater) 
a Presbyter of the church of England, entitled, 
An Original Draught of the Primitive Church; 
together with the books refen-ed to below, under 
the articles Episcopacy^ Presbytertanisniy and Inde- 

Authors for and against Christianity. 
— The principles on which the Christian religion 
is founded, and the consequences naturally arising 
from it, if true, are so important to mankind, that, 
as may be supposed, its truth has been the subject 
of much and minute enquiry; its evidences have 
been set in various points of view; and its doctrines 
and duties have been ably and repeatedly stated, 
illustrated, and enforced. So many have written 
in its defence, that the works of some one or other, 
of its defenders must be in almost every one's 
hands, and so many deserve to be noticed here, 
and seem to have equal claims on our regard, that 
it is difficult to make a selection. In addition 
therefore to those already referred to, I shall now 
particularise only these few. The apologies of 


Justin Martyr, Minucius Felix, and Tertullian, 
among the ancients; together with Jenkin's Rea- 
sonableness and Evidence of the Christian Religion^ 
Bishop Stillingfleet's Origines Sacrce, and Ser- 
mons preached at Boyle's Lectures^ collected in 
3 vols. fol. 1739. 

On particular subjects; — Bishop Newton on The 
Prophecies may be consulted with advantage, and 
Mr. Hume's absti'use and soj^histical Argument 
against Miracles, will be found completely refuted 
by Drs. Adams, Campbell, and Paley. 

Of the institutions for illustrating the truths of 
Christianity, and defending them against modem 
opposers, the first that deserves to be noticed is 
Mr. Boyle's Lecture, which was founded at the 
latter end of the seventeenth century, when that 
"v\-orthy man appropriated an annual sum of fifty 
pounds, as a salary to some clergyman of the 
church, resident within the bills of mortality, for 
preaching eight sermons every yeai" against notori- 
ous infidels, &c. It was not expressly required, 
that they should be published,* but a collection of 
very valuable sermons preached in consequence of 
this institution, was made and published as above. 

The Lecture founded at Oxford, about twenty 
years ago, by the Re\ . John Bampton, Canon of 

* Hence they have not been generally published, but 
the Lecture is siill continued; and 2 vols of excellent 
Sermons, lately preached at it, have just been published 
by Mr. Van Mildert. 


Salisbury, and hence known by the name of the 
Bampton Lecture^ has Hkewise produced some 
ver}^ able and excellent discourses; and next to 
these tvvo may be mentioned the Teylerian Socie- 
ty erected at the Hague in 1786. 

In regard to the opposers of Christianity, Celsus, 
PorphjTy, and Julian the apostate, are perhaps the 
most distinguished of the x\ncients ; and in later 
times. Lords Herbert and Bolingbroke, Hobbes, 
Hume, Gibbon, Voltaire, and Thomas Paine, 
have stood foremost in the ranks of infidelity. In 
our days, schemes have been formed, and plans 
have been artfully and deeply laid, for the utter 
extirpation of Christianity. A- conspii'acy was set 
on foot, and warmly supported, by not a few of 
the most distinguished literati and otliers on the 
continent of Europe, for the express purpose of 
banishing the very name of Christianity from the 
world ; but they had scarcely reaped the first fruits 
of their exertions, when their object was happily- 
discovered by the friends of religion ; and notwith- 
standing all the art, the zeal, tlie wisdom, and the 
exertions that were employed for effecting it, it has 
hitherto in a great measure failed ; and I doubt not 
will finally prove abortive; for Christians know 
who has said, that *' the gates of hell shall not pre- 
vail'^ against their religion.* 

The writings on both sides are thus character- 
ised by Dr. Doddridge. — " I own," says he, " the 

* See the late Professor Robison's Proofs of a Consfii- 
ractf) or the Abbe Barruel's work On Jacobinism. 


defenders of the gospel have appeared with very 
diiferent degrees of abihtj^ for the work ; nor could 
it be otherwise among such numbers of them : but 
on the whole, though the patrons of infidelity have 
been masters of some wit, humour, and address, 
as well as of a moderate share of learning, and ge- 
nerally much more than a moderate share of as- 
surance; yet so great is the force of truth, that 
(unless we may except those writers, who have 
unhappily called for the aid of the civil magistrate 
in the conti'oversy,) I cannot recollect, tliat I have 
seen any defence of the gospel, which has not, on 
the whole, been sufficient to establish it, notwith- 
standing all the sophistical arguments of its most 
subtile antagonists. This is an observation, which 
is continually gaining new strength, as new as- 
saults are made upon the gospel. And I cannot 
forbear saying, diat as if it were by a kind of judi- 
cial infatuation, some Avho have distinguished 
themselves in the \Aretched cause of infidelity, 
have been permitted to fall into such gi*oss misre- 
presentations, such senseless inconsistencies, and 
such palpable falsehoods; and, in a word, into 
such a various and malignant superfluity of naugh- 
"tiness, that to a wise and pious mind they must 
appear like those venemous creatures, which are 
said to carry an antidote in their bowels against 
their own poison. A virtuous and well bred Deist 
must turn away from some modem pieces of this 
kind with scorn and abhon^nce; and a Christian 
might almost be tempted to wish, that the books, 
with all their scandals about them, might be 


transmitted to posterity, lest when they come to 
live, like the writings of some of the ancient hea- 
thens, only in those of their learned and pious 
answerers, it should hardly be credited, that ever 
the enemies of the gospel, in such an enlightened 
age, should be capable of so much impiety and 

Countries where found, Numbers, &c. 
— The grand subdivisions of the Christian religion 
are, — the Greek and Eastern churches, of which 
the former is subject to the Patriarch of Constan- 
tinople ; — the Church ofRome^ or the Roman Catho- 
lics, who acknowledge the authority of the Pope ; 
— and, the Protestant or Reformed Churches, 
whose members reject it. The Greek and Eastern 
Churches, including the Armenians, Nestorians, 
Coptes, or Cophts, &c. comprehend all Chris- 
tians in European and Asiatic Turkey, viz. in 
Greece, the Grecian Islands, Syria, Armenia, Me- 
sopotamia, Palestine, and Arabia; in Astracan, 
Casan, Georgia, and Mingrelia; and likewise the 
Christians in Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia; toge- 
ther with almost all those in the Russian empire, 
both in Europe and Asia. The church of Rome 

* Three Sermons on the Evidences of Christianity ^ p. 
106-7. — These remarks hold equally true in regard to the 
writings of those who have opposed the gospel since those 
sermons were written. Had the Doctor lived to see Paine's 
jige of Reason, what, may we suppose, would he have 
thought or said of that performance ? 
VOL. I. H h 


is established in Itah", Sardinia, France, Spain, 
and Portugal, and dieir dependencies ; in many of 
the states of Germany, and in seven of the Swiss 
Cantons; and comprehends, besides, many Chris- 
tians in Great Britain, Ireland, and other Protest- 
ant countries in Europe, as well as in Asia, Ame- 
rica, the West Indies, &.c. 

The Protestant, or Reformed Churches, includ- 
ing the Lutherans, Calvinists, the united church of 
England and Ireland, &c. are established, one or 
other of them, in Great Britain and Ireland, Swe- 
den, Denmark, Norway, many states of Germany, 
part of Switzerland, &:c. Many Cliristians in Asia 
also, and by far the greater part of the Christians 
in North America, the West Indies, &c. are Pro- 

All the inhabitants of Europe profess the Chris- 
tian religion, except those A\ho are Jews ; about 
one-third of the inhabitants of Turkey, who are 
Mohammedans; and some of the Laplanders, and 
others inhabiting tlie exti'eme northern parts, who 
are Pagans. 

Although, by the Providence of God, Moham- 
medans and idolaters have been suffered to possess 
themselves of those places in Asia and Africa, as 
well as in Greece, \\ here the Christian religion for- 
merly most flourished ; yet Christians are still to 
be found, more or less, in many parts of both those 
quarters of the world. 


In Asia, most part of the empire of Russia, the 
countries of Circassia and Mingrelia, Georgia, and 
Mount Libanus, are inhabited only by Chiistians ; 
who are also to be met witli, in great numbers, in 
every other part of Asiatic Turkey, as well as in 
all the eastern dominions of Great Britain, France, 
Spain, Portugal, and Holland. 

The St Thome Christians, established on the 
coast of Malabar at latest before the sixth cen- 
tur}^, are calculated to amount at present to 150,000 
souls j the number of the Portuguese Christians on 
the same coast, is computed at 36,000. The na- 
tive Protestant Christians in Ceylon, in 1801, ex- 
ceeded 342,000; and the Christians professing the 
religion of the Church of Rome, were then suppo- 
sed to be still more numerous.* 

Roman Catholic Missionaries have long been 
employed in propagating their doctrines in the most 
distant regions of Asia, and Protestant Missionaries 
of various denominations of Christians, besides 
those sent out, and supported by the Society for 
promoting Christian Knowledge^ London, are now 
engaged in publishing the important truths of Chris- 
tianity in the different countries of the East.f 

* CorAintT^s Descrifition of Ceylon^ p. p. 52-3. 

t " With regard to the question which has been agitated 
in England, on the expediency of sending Missionaries to 
India, (a question highly disgraceful to its opposers,) it 
may suffice to know, that the native Protestant converts 
are, when compared with a like number of other natives, 
the ijnosl oruerly and respectable class in the country. 

244 (Christianity 

In Africa^ besides the Christians in Egypt called 
Coptes or Cophts, and in the kingdoms of Congo 
and Angola, the islands upon the Avestem coasts 
are inhabited by Christians, as is also the vast king- 
dom of Abyssinia. Christians are also numerous 
in all the dependencies of European po^vers in Af- 
rica; as at Melinda, &c. in Zanguebar, at the Cape 
of Good Hope, Sierra Leone, &c. &.c. 

Christianity prevails also throughout all the do- 
minions of Europeans on the large continent of 
America, as w^ell as in the West Indies, and other 
American islands ; and those Christians that extend 
farthest north and south, as in Canada and the Por- 
tuguese settlements, are Roman Catholics, whose 
religion is also established in all the American do- 
minions subject to Spain. 

Their number is very considerable, I should think about 
3000. That they consist entirely of the lower class is a 
vulvar error," &:c. Extract of a letter from a gentleman 
of respectability in India, to the Rev. Dr. Vincent, and pub- 
lished in the above venerable Society's Account of Proteat- 
ant Missions for the year 1799, p. 148, 

With regard to another question which has more lately 
been proposed for discussion in England, " on the expe- 
diency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British In- 
dia," (of whose opposers I wish to say nothing,) it may 
likewise suffice to know, that " six military, and twelve 
civil chaphiins, completes the whole number for the British 
empire in India. Some single islands in the West Indies 
have a more regular church establishment, and more ex- 
tensive Christian advantages, than the whole British em- 
pire in the East. Jamaica alone has eighteen churches ; 
English India has three ; one at Calcutta, one at Madras^ 
and one at Bombay" Crit. I^v. for May 1806, p. 52. 



After all, it is a painful truth that Christianity 
is of very small extent, compared with those ma- 
ny and vast countries overspread with Paganism 
or Mohammedism ; for, by a calculation, ingeni- 
ously made by some, it is found that, were the 
inhabited known world divided into thirty partSy 
nineteen of them are still possessed by Pagans, six 
by Jews and Mohammedans, two by Christians of 
the Greek and Eastern Churches, and three by 
those of the Church of Rome and Protestant Com- 
munion. If this calculation be accurate, Chris- 
tianity, taken in its largest latitude, bears no greater 
proportion to the other religions than^i;eto twenty- 
five^ or one to five. Besides, it was made before 
New Holland, New Guinea, and various other 
islands in the Pacific Ocean were discovered ; how 
much greater then must the numerical difference 
now be between the extent of ground possessed by 
those enjoying the light of the gospel, and that in- 
habited by those who are still groping in Pagan 
darkness ! 

If we regard the number of inhabitants on the 
face of the globe, the proportion of Christians to 
other religionists is not much greater ; for, accord- 
ing to a calculation made in a pamphlet, published 
in 1792, entitled, An Enquiry into the Obligations 
of Christians, to use means fi)r the Coiwersion 
of the Heathen,* the inhabitants of the world 

* By Mr. William Carey, one of the Baptist Missionaries 
now in Bengal. This calculation, I humbly conceive, sets 
the proportion of Roman Catholics by far too high. The 
editors of the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine, or one of 


amount to about 732,000,000; of whom only about 
174,000,000 are Christians, viz.— an 100,000,000 
Roman CathoHcs, 44,000,000 Protestants, and 
30,000,000 of the Greek and Eastern Churches; 
which together do not make a fourth part of the 

That the Christian religion should still be con- 
■fined to so small a part of the globe, and yet have 
enlightened so small a proportion of its inhabitants, 
seems to be one of those " secret things" which 
belong unto God, and which exceed our compre- 
hension.* It has doubtless all along had many 
and very serious obstacles to encounter in its pro- 
gress ; so that its prevalence is clearly a divine 
work ; and though it may be removed from parti- 
cular countries or places, it can never be wholly 
extinguished : nay, there is not only prophetic as- 
surance, but some probable reasons, to suppose 
that it will go on increasing, and, sooner or later, 
become universal. Meanwhile, it is painful to re- 
flect, that, notwithstanding the proportion of pro- 
fessing Christians to other religionists throughout 

their correspondents, seems to me to err more widely on 
the other side, by stating those who acknowledge the Pope 
of Rome at only, " one seventh part" of all those who call 
upon the name of Christ throughout tho world. — Siififilement 
to Vol. V. p. 416. 

* This, however, can be no serious objection to its truth. 
See a Sermon by Dr. Gregory Sharpe, Master of the Tem- 
ple, entitled, Want of Universality,) no objection to the Chris- 
tian religion, where the doctor proves that our holy religion 
pervades all countries, though no other religions have any 
footing wherever ours is established. 


the world, is so small, yet much smaller is the 
number of those who are Christians indeed. " I 
should be thought to advance a paradox," says Mr. 
Addison, " should I affirm, that there were more 
Christians in the world during those times of per- 
secution," (the first three centuries) " than there 
are at present in these which we call the flourish- 
ing times of Christianity. But this will be found 
an indisputable truth, if we form our calculation 
upon the opinions which prevailed in those days, 
that every one who lives in the habitual practice of 
any voluntary sin, actually cuts himself off" from 
the benefit and profession of Christianity, and what- 
ever he may call himself, is in reality no Christian^ 
nor ought to be esteemed as such."*" 

* Evidences of the Christian Religion^ sect. ix. chap. 1. 

A general view of the progress of C/hribtianity in dif- 
ferent countries, from its first promul?ation till about the 
year 1730, may be seen in Fabricius's Salutaris Lnx Evau' 
gelii toti Orbi fier divinam Gratiam exoriens ; or as extract- 
ed from that accurate treatise, by Dr. Apthorp, in the 2d 
vol. of his Discourses on Prophecy. See also a work just 
published in 4to. by Mr. H. Pearson, of St. John's ColJ. 
Oxford, entitled,./^ Dissertation on the Propagation of Chris- 
tianity in jisia, in two fiarts ; to ivhich is prefixed^ a brief 
historic View of the progress of the Gospel in different J^a- 
tions, since its first promulgation, illustrated by a ChronolO' 
gical Chart. And some account of tiie different countries, 
inliabiied by Christians about the beginning of the seven- 
teenth ceniuty, may be found in the lOih chap, of Brere- 
wood's Enquiries. 





Name, with the Life and Character 
OF ITS Author. — Mohammedism takes its name 
from Mahomet or Mohammed^ its author and 
founder, who was born at Mecca, a cit}^ in Arabia 
Felix, in A. D. 571. The circumstances which 
attended his earher years, were such as presented 
no flattering prospects of grandeur, and no proba- 
ble views of ambition to his future life. Though 
descended from the tribe of Koreish^ the most ho- 
nourable of Arabia, and from the noblest family of 
that tribe, yet distress and poverty were the only 
portion which he inherited. Soon after he was 
born, his father Abdollah, died, when five camels 
and an ^Ethiopian female slave comprised the 
whole of his property, which remained for the sup- 
port of his widow Ainena^ and her infant son. 

VOL. I, I i 


When we consider tlien the point from Avhich he 
set out, and the height to a\ hich he rose : when we 
contemplate the greatness of that empire, and the 
extent of that rehgion, which he founded ; our as- 
tonishment is excited as well by the splendid 
talents and the profoimd artifice of the imposter, as 
by the blind compliance and abject credulity of 
the multitudes whom he deceived. The educa- 
tion A\ hich he received, like that of the rest of his 
countrymen, was rough and hardy ; neither tem- 
pered by the elegancies of literature, nor even en- 
lightened by the first and most obvious rudiments 
of knowledge; but calculated rather to iuA'igorate 
the powers of the body, than to polish and enlarge 
the mind. But, gi-aceful in his person, easy and 
insinuating in his manners, and endowed Avith a 
greatness of mind, which could brave the storms 
of ad\'ersity, and rise superior to the disadvantages 
of an illiterate education ; he Avas in possession of 
accomplishments more valuable in themselves, and 
capable of producing more illusti-ious efiects, than 
all that the influence of wealth, or the authority of 
hereditarj' power could ha\ e bestowed. 

But if Mohammed, deprived of the usual means 
of cultivation and improvement, was, during the 
earlier years of his life, left solely to the guidance 
of untutored nature ; he, at a more advanced age, 
enjoyed the most favourable opportunities of ac- 
quiring a species of information far more condu- 
cive to the success of his subsequent designs, 
than the maxims of science, or the refinements of 


philosophy; the knowledge, I mean, of men and 
manners. Surrounded by a rough and baiTen ter- 
ritory, which denied to its inhabitants even the ne- 
cessaries of life, the people of Mecca, like the Ish- 
maelites their forefathers, depended principally on 
commerce for support. Thus urged by the call of 
unavoidable necessity, and favoured by a situation 
peculiarly advantageous to such pursuits, they car- 
ried on a constant and extensive intercourse with 
Persia, S}Tia, Palestine, and Egypt. In tliese 
employments the imposter W3.s early initiated by 
his uncle jibu- Taleb, to whose care he had been 
left by his father ; and during his travels into the 
neighbouring nations, besides the general improve- 
ment and cultivation of his mind, he collected 
those particular observations which afterwards in- 
duced him to fonn, and acquired that knowledge, 
which enabled him to execute, his daring and am- 
bitious designs. 

WhUst engaged in the occupations of commerce, 
and discharging with zeal and fidelity the humble 
duties of servitude, his strong and active genius al- 
ready rose above the mxeanness and obscurity of 
his station ; and, from a well-grounded confidence 
in its own powers, inspired him with an opinion, 
that he was bom to move in a higher and more 
illustrious sphere. But when a sudden and unex- 
pected change of fortune had raised him from po- 
verty and dependence to opulence and ease, this 
opinion returned with augmented force; and he 
now began to meditate seriously on the means of 


realising those ideas, which had hitherto proceed- 
ed rather from the a\ armth of imagination, than 
from the dehberate dictates of reason, or even the 
impulses of serious and habitual hope. In the 
25th year of his age, he wan raised to an equality 
witli the richest citizens of Mecca, b}' his alliance 
with Khadija/i, or Cadigha^ an opulent Mddow of 
that ciiy% ^' hose mercantile affairs he had conduct- 
ed in Syria, for som.e years, so much to her satis- 
faction, that she ad^'anced him from the rank of a 
servant, to be the partner of her bed. This event 
may justly be considered as the foundation of all 
the future fortmie of Mohammed, \\'ho, sensible of 
the advantages he had deri\'ed from the favour of 
Khadijah, is said to have remained strictly faithful 
to her during the whole of her life : and, after her 
death, to have ever spoken of her in terms of the 
warmest and most grateful respect. 

From this period to the time when he announc- 
ed his mission as the prophet of the Most High, 
history has recorded nothing of consequence con- 
cerning his actions and pursuits. Fifteen years of 
his life are involved in the deepest and most impe- 
netrable obscurity. One historian only informs 
us, that God had inspired his prophet with a love 
of solitude and retirement. But in this single in- 
formation, we see a ray of light sufficient to clear 
up the darkness of this mysterious interval. In a 
lonely cave, in the recesses of Mount //«;y/ or Hira, 
he shunned the society of men. Doubtless, it w^'s 
in this silence of retirement that the artful imposter 


laid the foundation of his future greatness : here he 
drew the general oudines, and here he adjusted the 
several paiticulars of that great and hazardous pro- 
ject, which was hereafter to raise him to glory and 

At the time when Mohammed travelled into the 
neighbouring nations, there were some peculiar 
circumstances in their government and manners, 
which were calculated to strike the deepest impres- 
sion on a vigorous and reflecting mind. The in- 
ternal distractions of Persia on the one side, and 
the notorious weakness of the Roman provinces on 
the other, together with the universal corruption of 
manners that prevailed amongst the inhabitants of 
both, were indications, too strong to be overlooked, 
of the approaching ruin of these mighty and un- 
wieldy empires. But the state of religion was pro- 
bably the grand and principal object that attracted 
his attention, and employed his reflections. A 
little consideration, and especially an acquaintance 
with the Jewish and Christian doctrines, must have 
convinced him of the absurdity of that impious idol- 
atry, in which he had been educated, and in all the 
madness of \\ hich his coimtrymen were still plung- 
ed almost universally. 

In the mean time, he beheld the Jews, despised 
and detested by all men, still obstinately refusing 
to mix with the rest of mankind, and adhering with 
unshaken attachment to the law of Moses : whilst 
the Chriscians, divided in their faith, and degene^ 


rate in their practice, had miserably perverted the 
spirit of their rehgion ; and, forgetting tlie union 
and love which it prescribed, were denouncing 
anathemas on each other. Sensible of the ad\'an- 
tages which he should derive from tliis confused 
state of affairs, and eagerly ambitious of power, the 
imposter determined to cover his deep and aspir^ 
ing schemes under the specious A'eil of divine re- 
velation. Hence, with a boldness of design which 
was exceeded only by the cunning that conducted 
it, he meditated a religion, which, by flattering the 
corrupt passions and prejudices of each, might em- 
brace, in its ample and comprehensive law, the 
Christian, the Idolater, and the 3t\y. The plan 
was great, and the execution was arduous ; but the 
wily imposter facilitated its success by laying the 
foundation of his whole system on one plain and ob- 
vious principle, — the belief of one only supreme 
God. A doctrine thus simple, which presented to 
reason no more than it could easily conceive, was 
apparently well calculated for the reception of all 
the nations upon earth. But, in order to stamp the 
highest possible sanction upon the doctrines \vhich 
he taught, and (what was of still greater conse- 
quence) to lay the firmest foundation on which he 
might build his own greatness and poAver, the im- 
poster superadded the obligation of believing in 
him^ as the inspired prophet and messenger of the 

Having fixed this basis, he next proceeded to 
erect upon it a motley and misshapen superstruc- 


iiii'e, composed of the most incoherent and hete- 
rogeneous materials. In order the more effectually 
to accomplish the great object which he had in 
view, of aggrandising himself by cementing in one 
system the most discordant opinions of those whom 
he laboured to seduce, he deemed it necessary to 
accommodate his plan, as far as possible, to the 
pceconceived notions of all. 

With this view, he artfully selected from the 
JcAvish and Christian morality those parts which 
seemed best adapted to the sentiments and man- 
ners of the inhabitants of the warmer climates in 
particular ; blending them at the same time with 
the popular traditions, and the ruling opinions of 
his idolatrous countrymen. To have laid claim to 
a revelation totally new, and independent of any 
which had preceded it, would have been too bold 
and hazardous a step : the profound policy of Mo- 
hammed, therefore, suggested to him a safer and 
more practicable plan. He alleged, with much 
plausibility, that God had originally given one grand 
and universal religion to all the sons of men ; that 
when the cares and avocations of life had obliterated, 
or the frailty or perverseness of human nature had 
corrupted tliis faith, it had pleased the Almighty, 
in his mercy, to send forth successive prophets, to 
instruct and to reform mankind, ever prone to wan- 
der from the plain and simple paths of truth : such, 
among many others whom his own creative imagi- 
nation raised up and dignified with the prophetic of- 
fice, such was Moses ; whose mission was, by the 


particular designation of Providence, confined with- 
in the narrow limits of one people : such, too, was 
Jesus ; A\ hose more liberal and comprehensive sys- 
tem proceeded from a fuller and more perfect exer- 
tion of divine goodness, and was destined to confer 
its benefits, without distinction, on all the widely 
extended race of mankind : since time, however, 
had unhappily corrupted the doctrines of Christian- 
ity itself, and left men once more to wander in dark- 
ness and in error, it had at length pleased the Al- 
mighty to elect him as the instrument of his gra- 
cious designs ; to commission him to rescue reli- 
gion from the corruptions which obscured its 
native splendour; and to place him above Jesus 
himself, by making him the last great restorer of 
truth and virtue to the world. 

This scheme in itself appeared fair and plausi- 
ble ; and the circumstances of the times were such, 
as tended in a peculiar degree to countenance and 
support it. And, having thus far matured his gi'eat 
and ambitious project ; having thus determined on 
the most probable means of executing it with suc- 
cess ; he thought that he might now venture to an- 
nounce his pretended revelation to the world. 

The character of Mohammed, according to East- 
em historians, had been hitherto preserAcd, in a 
great measure, unblemished. That he might not, 
however, by too rapid a transition, become a re- 
former of those very errors in which he himself had 
been involved; that he might not too suddenly 


commence a preacher against that idolatiy which 
he had practised in common with the rest of his 
coiintrj'men;* and, that he might acquire a repu- 
tation for sanctity in some measure correspondent 
with the high and venerable office which he was 
about to assume, he affected to pass a great part of 
his time in religious retirement, and holy medita- 
tion; he became more grave in his deportment, 
more profuse in his charities, and more assiduous 
in his devotions. 

When the time which he had chosen to an- 
nounce his mission approached, being now in his 
fortieth year : when the night which was to cover 
him with glory, according to the expression of 
Abu'Ifeda,] was at length arrived ; he withdrew in 

* For some account of the state of relic;ion in Arabia at 
the time of Mohammed's appearance, see Mr. Sale's Pre- 
liminary Discourse, and Dr. White's 2d Ser. at the Bamfi- 
ton Lecture. 

t Abu'l-Feda (Ismael) de Vita, et rebus gestis Mohamme- 
diSf cum notis, Jo. Gagnier, Arab, et Lat. fol. Oxon, 1723. 

It may be proper to observe here, that tliis life of Mo- 
hammed was not written till about 600 years after his death ; 
that Al Jannabii who is the author of a legend on the same 
subject, came 200 years after; and that it seems to be very 
doubtful whether these historians had any written accounts 
to appeal to more ancient than the Sonnah, which was a 
collection of traditions made by order of the caliphs, 200 
years after Mohammed's death. Mohammed died A. D, 
632 ; Al Bochariy one of the six doctors who compiled the 
Sonnah, was born A. D. 809, and died 869. See Prideaux's 
Life of Mahomet, 8vo. 17 10. 

VOL. I. K k 


silence to the solitary cave, which had been the 
usual place of his retirement. Here, he pretended, 
tlie divine commands Avere first communicated to 
him with the most a^vful solemnity' ; and here he 
received his great commission as the prophet and 
apostle of God, by the hands of Gabriel, the glo- 
rious messenger of the Most High. 

The first efforts of the imposter were confined 
to the conversion of his OAvn wife and household ; 
and, having succeeded thus far, he pretended to 
receive more frequent communications of the di- 
vine will; and proceeded, for the space of three 
years, by every species of artifice, and by the force 
of superior talents, to gain over to his party some 
of tlie most powerful inhabitants of Mecca. His 
pretensions were, indeed, at first, both by Jews and 
Christians, rejected with disdain; and the rulers of 
the city endea\oured to impede his progress, first 
by se^'ere and repeated menaces, and at length by 
actual violence. Even the multitude, on his first 
public appearance in the character of prophet, ri- 
diculed his pretences, and insulted him with the 
odious appellations of a magician and an imposter. 
But, in defiance of all opposition, the manly and 
persuasive eloquence, the consummate policy, and 
the alluring doctrines of the new prophet, daily 
augmented the number of his disciples. 

Compelled, how ever, at length, to escape, by a 
precipitate flight, the last desperate eftbrt of his 
exasperated foes, he found a secure and advanta- 


geous retreat in Medina^ whither his reputation had 
already reached.* Here, by an exertion of the 
same diligence, and by the practice of the same 
artifice, he soon found himself enabled to collect a 
considerable number of followers, whose belief in 
his mission was firmly established, and whose zeal 
for the propagation of his religion, and the support 
of his character as a prophet, was too strong to be 
shaken by any threats of danger, or of death. 

With increasing power, the impatience and the 
ambition of the imposter, also increased. The 
view of empire seems now to have opened more 
fully and cleaily upon him; and he now pretend- 
ed to have received the divine command to un- 
sheath the sword of the Almighty, and to subdue, 
by tlie violence of arms, those who had been ob- 
stinately deaf to the voice of persuasion. He had 
hitherto acted the darker and more disguised part 
of the crafty deceiver, and the profound politician ; 
but, without neglecting these arts, he now began 
to assuiTie also another character, and to display 

* From this flight, termed in Arabic Hpjra or Hegira, 
which is supposed to have happened in the llth year from 
M< hammed's assuming the character of prophet and apos- 
tle, and i/ccording to most Christian authors, ii. July A.D. 
622, his followers h;ive all along numbered their years, 
fixiiv this for tlieir xra or epoch..; as from this Hegira, 
i- e jiight or persecution of their pi ophet, may be dated the 
foundation of their empire and religion. 

With the Jews, vhe ^lo!;ammedans reckon by the lunar 
year; an<l the years of the Hxgir;,, which begin in our July, 
are composed only of 354 ^'-Ay.- livery ye.-.r consists of 12 
months, which contain alternately 30 and 29 days. 

260 M H A M M E D I S M 

the more splendid talents of a commander and a 
hero. The first actions, however, with which he 
began his military career, resemble the irregular 
exploits of the robber, more than the systematical 
operations of the wairior; but enriched by the 
spoils, and aggrandised by the fame of his suc- 
cesses, he was soon enabled to engage in attempts of 
greater and more extensive importance. Towards 
those whom his arms had conquered, his conduct 
was different under different circumstances; ac- 
cording as interest required, or policy directed, 
we behold it now distinguished by an ostentation 
of the most heroic clemency, and now stained with 
all the excesses of ferocious cruelty. 

To the sagacious statesman, and even to the 
candid philosopher, Mohammed has sometimes 
appeared rather severe from policy, than cruel by 
nature. But this apology, in the view of unpreju- 
diced reason, and of genuine philanthropy, aggra- 
vates surely tlie guilt it is meant to extenuate. For 
the necessity which usurpation creates, the usurper 
is always responsible. This argument alleged in 
his favour amounts also to a full and decisive 
proof, that Mohammedism itself could not have 
been established ^\'ithout violence. We readily 
admit the fact; and we are justified in drawing 
from it such conclusions as are most dishonour- 
able to the genius of tlie religion itself, and to the 
character of its author. 

We now pass on to another striking feature in 
the character of Mohannned. 


During his earlier years, indeed, every measure 
seems to have been dictated, and every inferior 
consideration utterly absorbed, by an unvaried at- 
attention to the pursuits and the interests of ambi- 
tion. The nature of his undertaking, particularly 
in its first stages, required no common degi'ee of 
prudence and caution. But no sooner was his re- 
putation as a prophet established ; no sooner was 
his autliority rooted too firmly to be shaken by any 
common or ordinary event, and his ambition in 
some measure satiated by the possession of power, 
than another passion arose ; and, shaking off the 
restraint which had hitherto suppressed it, with a 
violence equally arbitrary, now hurried him away 
into the wildest extravagancies. Whilst the wretch- 
ed victims of his power were sacrificed to his cruelty 
or his policy, a still severer fate awaited the female 
captive, who was compelled to submit to the base 
and inordinate desires of a barbarian conqueror, and 
was forced into those arms which were stained with 
the recent slaughter of a friend, a brother, or a parent, 

I will not presume to shock the feelings of the 
reader by a near prospect of the chamber of the 
prophet: indeed tlie most abandoned libertine 
would blush at the particular representation of the 
horrid and disgusting scenes which there unfold 
themselves to our astonished view. It is there- 
fore sufficient to observe in general, that the retire- 
ments of Mohammed, from his first acquisition of 
power to his last decline of life, were continually 
disgraced by every excessive indulgence of that 


passion, which has a more particular tendency te 
degrade the dignity of the human character even 
below the brute creation. 

The laws which he prescribed for the regulation 
of his disciples, were too loose for the most com- 
pliant moralist to ju: tify, and too favourable to 
afford the most abandoned sensualist any probable 
ground of complaint. But the boundless lust of 
Mohammed disdained to be confined even ^vithin 
the extensive limits which he had drawn for his 
followers. It was reasonable, forsooth, that the 
prophet should be distinguished above the rest of 
mankind by exclusive privileges ; and that his ap- 
petites and passions should be indulged with an ap - 
propriate and peculiar license. Sole master of the 
oracles of heaven, he ever compelled them to speak 
that language, which was best adapted to his de- 
signs. Hence he was possessed of an unfailing 
resource under every exigency ; and thus a satisfac- 
tory answer was always prepared to solve every 
objection, and to remove every scruple, which the 
malice of his enemies, or the pious doubts of his 
friends, might raise against him. 

The imposter limited his followers to the num- 
ber of four wives, whilst he himself, according to 
AbuU Feda,* had no less thi\n ff teen, htskhs con- 
cubines. But this, it seems, was a peculiar privi- 
lege, founded on the express words of God him- 

♦ Page 147. 


self: — "O prophet, we have allowed thee thy 
wives, unto whom thou hast given theii- dower, 
and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth, 
of the boot)' which God hatli granted thee ; and the 
daughters of thy uncle, and the daughters of thy 
aunts, both on thy father's side and on thy mother's 
side, who have fled with thee from Mecca; and 
any other believing woman, if she give herself unto 
the prophet; in case the prophet desireth to take 
her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted 
unto thee, above the rest of the true believers."* 

Here we behold the God of purity himself in- 
troduced to sanctify and approve the sensual im- 
moralities of his prophet, and to silence the mur- 
murs of his profane or short-sighted followers, who 
had been weak enough to imagine, that the same 
laws, which were obligatory on the vulgar, like- 
wise extend their sanction to the sacred and vene- 
rable character of the apostle ! ! In another place, 
he makes the God of truth an abettor of the great- 
est falsehood, and says, that he had received from 
God a dispensation for perjury. " God hath allow- 
ed you a dissolution of your oaths.^f 

But from everj^ view of the life of Mohammed,- 
and even from the partial representations of his 
zealous and infatuated followers, it is evident, that 
ambition and lust were the passions which divided 

* Sale's Koran, Chap. 33. V(;l. I'. P. 281. Edit. ISOl. 
I- Korarif ;,s above, Ch:ip. 66, P. 446. 


the empire of his breast. From the sepai'ate or 
united influence of these powerful principles, it would 
not be difiicult to ti^ace almost every great design, 
and exerv important action of his life. That God 
" heareth not sinners," is a dictate of common na- 
ture ; and these striking blemishes in the character 
of their prophet might ha\e been sufficient, one 
would tliink, to have excited the strongest suspi- 
cions in the minds of the Arabians against his sin- 
cerit}'^, if not absolutely to have overdlro^vn his 
pretensions to a divine communication. 

But, if their decisions had been in any degree 
influenced by uncorrupt reason, they \\-ould have dis- 
covered objections equally unanswerable in other 
prominent aud distinguishing features of their gi-eat 
legislator. There is no sti'onger or more infallible 
criterion of truth and falsehood, than consistency. 
For nothing is permanent but truth, and nothing 
consistent but sincerit}^ It is difiicult, and I might 
even say impossible, for the most artful imposter, 
for the most finished and sagacious hypocrite, to 
preserve an assumed character with perfect and un- 
varied uniformity. But so far was the character of 
Mohammed from being consistent, that it is ever 
found to vary ^\ith his situation. Thus, till they 
could be indulged without shame and without dan- 
ger, we behold him compelling his lustful passions, 
even in the earlier periods of life, when their in- 
fluence is most powerful, to bend to the dictates of 
policy and the views of ambition. Thus, as inte- 
rest required, he now flattered the pride of the 


Jews, and now appealed to the prejudices of the 
Arabs; now selecting the temple of Jerusalem, and 
now that of Mecca, as the Kibla, the hallowed 
spot, towards wJiich the worship and the prayers 
of his followers should be directed.* Thus, too, 
at the commencement of his imposture, we find 
him humble and yielding, labouring only by the 
powers of eloquence, and by the softer arts of in- 
sinuation, to captivate the affections of his country- 
men;! but in its more advanced state, we behold 
on a sudden the preacher, by divine command, 
transformed into the warrior; we see his steps 
every M'here marked with blood and desolation; 
and we hear him, with the stem and ferocious as- 
pect of a conqueror, proposing death or conversion 
as the only alternative to his subject foes. 

But of the various disguises under which Mo- 
hammed attempted to veil the mysterioi^s plan of 
his imposture, none was more artful in its design, 
or more successful in its event, than that profound 
ignorance, and total want of every kind of litera- 
ture, to which he constantly pretended. On this 
was founded his most popular and prevailing ar- 
gument for the truth of that revelation which he 
professed to communicate to the world. The ele- 
gant style of that revelatien, as contained in the 
Koran, the harmony of its sentences, and the sub- 

* Sale's Koran, Vol. I. P. 26. Note n. 
t Thus, in the 2d chap, of the Koran, we find him say- 
ing, " Let there be no violence in religion." Ibid. P. 48. 

VOL. 1. L 1 


limity of its conceptions, were generally acknow- 
ledged. Was it not then absurd to imagine, (as 
the imposter speciously argued, and as his follow- 
ers argue to this day,) that a work of such extraor- 
dinary beauty and excellence could ever have been 
comix)sed by a man who Mas destitute of every 
species of acquired knowledge, and who by his ig- 
norance, even of the common rudiments of early 
education, had been precluded from the perusal of 
books and the use of -writing ? 

To an Arab, the argument was iiTesistible ; and 
even Christian A^Titers, in order to evade its force, 
have attempted to point out particularly the associ- 
ates of the imposter ; as Abdia ben Salon^ a Jewish 
rabbi of Persia, and Sergius or Bahira^ a Nestorian 
monk, whom they imagine to have composed that 
Koran, which he only delivered to the world.* 
But that the ignorance of Mohammed was not real, 
but assumed, (considering the commerce in which 
he had been engaged, and the intercourse which 
he had held with the inhabitants of more polished 
states) might have been reasonably suspected. It 
might also have been inferred from proofs of a 
more direct and positive nature ; for, notwithstand- 
ing all his care and circumspection, the mask 
sometimes dropped of, and discovered at once his 

* The different persons who, according to different au- 
thors, either composed or assisted Mohammed in the com- 
posiiion of the Koran, are enumerated by Mr. Sale, in Vol: 
II. P. 89, 90, Note n. 


real character, and the falsehood of his pretences. 
Even by the confession of his own historians, there 
were moments in which his pretended ignorance 
was forgotten ; and he not only expressed a desire 
to exercise, but actually practised that very art, of 
which he solemnly and repeatedly professed him- 
self to be totally ignorant.* 

But whatever difference of opinion may have 
arisen on this subject, it must be admitted by all 
parties, that vast were the schemes which Moham- 
med formed, and that great were the revolutions 
which he effected, both in the religion and the go- 
vernment of his country. With such vigour and 
intrepidity were his plans executed, and with so 
great success were his adventurous efforts crown- 
ed, that he not only became the founder of a new 
system of religion, but lived to behold himself mas- 
ter of all Arabia, besides several adjacent countries. 

After his death, which happened A. D. 632, his 
followers, led on by the same intrepidity, and ac- 
tuated by the same fanatical fury, extended their 
new religion far beyond the limits of Arabia, and 
subdued Syria, Persia, Egypt, and other countries 
under their dominion. 

For some time these enthusiastic invaders used 
their prosperity with moderation, and treated the 
Christians with much lenity and indulgence ; but 
as a long course of success and prosperity too of- 

* See Abu'l Fedoy p. 136. 


ten renders corrupt mortals insolent and imperious, 
so the moderation of this victorious sect degenerat- 
ed by degrees into severit}- ; insomuch, that they 
treated them, at length, rather like slaves than citi- 
zens, loading them with insupportable taxes, and 
obliging them to submit to a variety of vexatious 
and oppressive measures. And it is a lamentable 
fact, that the great body of the Greek and Eastern 
Christians have felt the weight of this iron yoke, 
in a greater or less degree, from the 7th century to 
the present day. 

See Dr. Prideaux^s Life of Mahomet, 8vo. 1710 
— Gagnier's Vie de Mahomet, Amsterdam, 2 vols. 
8vo. 1732 — the 2d Sect, of Sale's Preliminary 
Discourse, prefixed to his translation of the Koran, 
— and Simon Ockley's Conquest of Syria, Persia^ 
and Egypt, by the Saracens, 2 vols. 8vo. 1717; in 
which will be found a very exact account of the 
astonishing conquests of Abubeker, Omar, Oth- 
man. Sec. the successors of Mohammed, from the 
time of his death to A. D. 705. 

The Saracens likewise made inroads into the 
Greek empire, and carried their victorious arms 
into Media, Chaldea, India, and Tartary; — they 
held Spain from A. D. 714 till the beginning of 
the 16th century, but were driven out of France 
in 726; — they infested Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, 
Corsica, Majorca, and Crete; founded in Afri- 
ca the kingdoms of Fez, Morocco and Algiers, 
Tunis and Tripoli ; and became masters of Con. 
stantinople in 1453, under Mohamet II. The 


success of their arms was every where attended 
with the propagation of Mohammedism ; and the 
professors of this rehgion have long been called 
Saracens,* Turks, Tartars, Moors, &c. from their 
respective countries. 

Distinguishing Doctrines, or of the 
Koran, and its contents. — When a great 
part of the life of Mohammed had been spent in 
preparatory meditation on the system he was about 
to establish, the chapters of the Alcoran or Koran^ 
which was to contain the rule of the faith and prac- 
tice of his followers, were dealt out slov/ly and se- 
parately during the long period of three-and-twenty 
years. He entrusted his beloved wife Kaphsa^ the 
daughter of Omar, with the keeping of the " chest 
of his apostleship," wherein were laid up all the 
originals of the revelations he pretended to have 
received by the ministration of the angel Gabriel^ 
out of which the Koran, consisting of 114 Surats 
or chapters, of veiy unequal length, was composed 
after his death. 

Yet, defective in its structure, and not less ex- 
ceptionable in its doctrines and precepts, was the 
work which he thus delivered to his followers as 
the oracles of God. " We will not detract from 

* The Saracens, once so famous for their conquests, were 

the first disciples of Mohammed, and came from the deserts 

of Arabia ; Sarra, in their language, signifying a desert : 

^ but there are now no people known by this name, for the 

descendiints of those who conquered Spain are called Moors. 


the real merit of the Koran : we allow it to be 
generally elegant, and often sublime ; but at the 
same time we reject with disdain its arrogant pre- 
tence to any thing supernatural. '"'* Nay, if, de- 
scending to a minute inxestigation of it, we consi- 
der its perpetual inconsistence and absurdity, we 
shall indeed have cause for astonishment at tliat 
weakness of humanit}-, which could ever have re- 
cei\ed such compositions as the work of the Deity, 
and which could still hold it in such admiration as 
it is held by the followers of Mohammed, to this 
present day. Far from supporting its an-ogant 
claim to a supernatural work, it sinks below the 
level of many compositions confessedly of human 
original ; and still lower does it fall in our estima- 
tion, ^vhcn compared Avith that pure and perfect 
pattern which we justly admire in the scriptures of 
truth. The first praise of all the productions of ge- 
nius, is invention : but the Koran bears little im- 
pression of this transcendant character. It does 
not contain one single doctrine, which may not 
fairly be derived either from the Jewish and Chris- 
tian scriptures, from the spurious and apocryphal 
gospels, then current in the East, from the Talmu- 
dical legends, or from the traditions, customs, and 
opinions of the Arabians. And the materials col- 
lected from these several sources, are here heaped 
together, with perpetual and needless repetitions, 
without any settled principle, or visible connexion. 
The most prominent feature of the Koran, that point 

* Dr. White's Sermons at Che Bamfit07i Lecture, p. 257. 


of excellence in which the partiality of its admirers 
has ever delighted to view it, is the sublime notion 
it generally impresses of the nature and attributes 
of God. But if its author had really derived these 
just conceptions from the inspiration of that Being 
whom they attempt to describe, tliey would not 
hsve been surrounded, as they now are on every 
side, with error and adsurdit)^ By attempting to 
explain what is inconceivable, to describe what is 
ineffable, and to materialise what in itself is spirit- 
ual ; he absurdly and impiously aimed to sensualise 
the purity of the divine essence. But it might 
easily be proved, that whatever the Koran justly 
defines of the divine attributes, was borrowed from 
our holy scriptures; which even from their first 
promulgation, but especially from the completion 
of the New Testament, have extended the views, 
aiid enlightened the understandings of mankind. 
Thus, part of the second chapter of the Koran is 
deservedly admired by the Mohammedans, who 
wear it engraved on their ornaments, and recite it 
in their prayers. " God ! there is no God but he, 
the living, the self- subsisting; neither slumber nor 
sleep seizeth him : to him belongeth whatsoever is 
in heaven, and on earth. Who is he that can in- 
tercede with him, but through his good pleasure? 
He knoweth that which is past, and that which is 
to come. His throne is extended over heaven and 
earth, and the preservation of both is to him no 
burden : he is the high, the mighty."* 

* Sale's Korauy v. 1. p. 47-8. edit. 1801. 


To this description, w ho can refuse the praise of 
magnificence ? Part of that magnificence, how- 
ever, is to be refen-ed to that verse of the Pashnist, 
whence it was borrowed, " He that keepeth Israel, 
shall neither slumber nor sleep."* But if we com- 
pare it with that other passage of the same inspired 
Psalmist, all its boasted grandeur is at once obscur- 
ed, and lost in the blaze of a greater light. f 

The Koran, indeed, every where inculcates that 
grand and fundamental doctrine of the unity of the 
Supreme Being, the establishment of which was 
constantly alleged by the imposter as the primary 
cause of his pretended mission ; but on the subject 
of the Christian Trinity its author seems to have en- 
tertained very gross and mistaken ideas, and to 
have been totally ignorant of the perfect consistence 
of that opinion, with the unity of the Deity. J 

Even those parts of the Koran which are at first 
view most captivating by the appearance of no- 
velty, and in which its author seems to have expa- 
tiated at large in the boundless regions of fancy, 
will, upon a closer examination, be found to con- 
tain as litde of novel, as they do of important, in- 
formation. With respect to the great doctrine 
of a future life, and the condition of the soul after 
its departure from the body, it must indeed be ac- 
knowledged, that the prophet of Arabia has pre- 

* Psalm cxxi. v. 4. f See Psalm cii. v. 24—27. 

t See particuiarly Sale's A'oran, p. 80. 4lo. edit. 


sented us with a nearer prospect of the invisible 
v\ orld, and disclosed to us a thousand particulars 
concerning it, \\hich the Holy Scriptures had 
WTapped in the most profound and mysterious si- 
lence. But, in his various representations of an- 
other life, he generally descends to an unnecessary 
minuteness and particularity, which excites dis- 
gust and ridicule, instead of reverence. He con- 
stantly pretended to have received these stupen- 
dous secrets, by the ministry of the angel Gabriel, 
from that eternal book in which the divine decrees 
have been written by the finger of the Almighty, 
from the foundation of the world; but the learned 
enquirer will discover a more accessible, and a far 
more probable source from whence they might be 
derived, partly in the wild and fanciful opinions of 
the ancient Arabs, and chiefly in those exhaustless 
stores of marvellous and improbable fiction, the 
works of the Rabbins. Hence, that romantic fa- 
ble of the Angel of Death, whose peculiar ofiice it 
is, at the destined hour, to dissolve the union be- 
twixt soul and body, and to free the depaiiing 
spirit from its prison of flesh. Hence, too, the 
various descriptions of the general resuiTection and 
final judgment, with which the Koran every where 
abounds ; and hence the vast, but ideal balance, in 
which the actions of all mankind shall then be im- 
partially weighed, and their eternal doom be as- 
signed them either in the regions of bliss or mise- 
ry, according as their good or evil deeds shall be 
found to preponderate. Here too may be traced 
the grand an original outlines of that sensual Pa- 
VOL. I. Mm 


radise, and those luxurious enjoyments, which 
were so successfully employed in the Konui, to 
gratify the ardent genius of tlie Arabs, and allure 
them to the stimdard of the prophet. 

The same observation, ^\hich has been applied 
with respect to the sources ^\ hence the doctrines 
were d^a^^'n, may, with some few limitations, be 
likewise extended to the precepts an hich the Ara- 
bian legislator has enjoined. That the Koran, 
amidst a various and confused heap of ridiculous, 
and e\tn immoral precepts, contains many inter- 
esting and instructive lessons of morality, cannot 
with truth be denied. Of these, howeAer, the 
merit is to be ascribed, not to the feeble imitation, 
but to the great and perfect original from which 
they were manifestly drawn. 

Instead (^f iniproA ing on the Christian precepts 
by a superior degree of refinement; instead of ex- 
hibiting a purer and more perfect s\ stem of morals 
than that of the gospel, tlie prophet of Arabia has 
miserably debased and weakened e\en what he 
has borrowed from that s}'stem. KAcry duty 
which he enjoins, e\ ery precej:>t w hich he enforces, 
in imitation of Christ and his apostles, though 
it may still command some regard, has yet lost 
much of its nati\ c beauty and majesty, and bears 
strong and evident marks of the imj)urc and cor- 
rupt channel through which it has passed. Thus, 
if he sometimes, in a tone of authority, summons 
his followers to the practice of the various duties 


of charit)^ ; if he commands them to give alms, to 
relieve the dista^ssed, and to forgive injuries ; yet 
base and narrow is the principle on which he en- 
forces these amiable virtues, when compared with 
the more liberal and beneficent spirit of the gospel 
of Jesus. Instead of exercising a vague and uni- 
versal charity, the disciple of Mohammed is ex- 
pressly taught to confine his benevolence to the 
followers of tlie prophet ; instead of conferring his 
good offices on those whose faith shall happen to 
differ from his own, he is warned against indulg- 
ing the tender weakness of humanity, he is com- 
manded to wage perpetual war with the guilty 
race, and to deem it a meritorious act to extirpate 
these enemies of his God from off the face of the 

The same inferiority, when compared with those 
of the gospel, is observable in every other duty 
which the Koran enjoins: it also labours under a 
disadvantage equally striking, witli respect to the 
inotives by which those duties are enforced. 

Though different be the representation of tlie 
joys and miseries of anotlier life, which the gospel 
and the Koran propose to their respective follow- 
ers 5 yet the commands of both rest ultimately on 
the same general sanction of future rewards and 
punishments. But the pious Mussulman, or Mo- 
hammedan believer, is induced to comply with 
the various ordinances of his religion, merely from 


a respect to the authority, the promises, and the 
threatenings of his prophet : whereas, though pos- 
sessed also of the same incitements, even in a 
much higher degree, the obedience of the Chris- 
tian is still further secured by the gracious promise 
of divine giace, and by those more engaging and 
endearing motives of love and gratitude to a Re- 
deemer, M^ho died to rescue a guilty world from 
the double slavery of sin and death. 

But charges of a more direct and positive na- 
ture may be brought against the Koran, in which 
we may observe the plainest and the boldest con- 
tradictions to that law and that gospel, which, 
at the same time, it every where proclaims to be 
divine, and on whose authority it vainly attempts 
to found its own claim to divinity. With respect 
to doctrines, various and irreconcileable are the 
differences which might be pointed out. We 
are told by^ur Saviour,* that a man is to be the 
husband of one wife, and that there is to be an 
inseparable union between them. He was, by 
Mohammed's confession, a prophet of the true 
God, and the Holy Spirit was with him. Yet 
in the Koran we find a permit for any person to 
have four wives, and as many concubines, as he 
can maintain. Again, our Saviour expressly tells 
us,t that at the resun-ection, " They \\\\\ neither 
marry nor be given in marriage ; but be like the 

• Matth. xix. v. 5. t Matth. xxii. v. 30. 


angels of God in heaven." We are informed also 
by St. Paul,* that we shall be changed, and have 
a spiritual and glorified body : "for flesh and 
blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven ; nei- 
ther can corruption inherit incorruption." But 
Mohammed gives a different account of things; 
and though Mr. Sale, (in his preliminary discourse,) 
would fain palliate the base notions of the impos- 
ter ; yet it is clear, from his own confession, that 
the happiness, promised in the Koran, consists in 
base and corporeal enjoyments. f According to 
its author, there will not only be marriage, but also 
servitude in the next world. The very meanest 
in Paradise will have eighty thousand servants, and 
seventy-two wives of the girls of Paradise ; besides 
the wives he had in this world : he will also have 
a tent erected for him, of pearls, hyacinths, and 
emeralds ~ And as marriage will take place, so a 
new race will be mtroduced in heaven ; for, says 
the Koran, " If any of the faithful in Paradise be 
desirous of issue, it shall be conceived, born, and 
grown up, in the space of an hour. ''J But on the 
contradictions in point of doctrine, though suffi* 
cient of themselves to confute the pretensions of 
Mohammed, I forbear to insist. They were per- 
haps intentional, and adopted in order to promote 
more effectually the plans of interest and ambition, 
which he had concerted. 

* 1 Cor. XV. t See particularly Koran, chap. Iv. 

t Sale's Frel. Discourse, p. 130 — 2, edit. 1801. 


But the Koran not only speaks a language con- 
trary to the scriptures, in the speculati\e truths and 
doctrines ^vhich it professes to reveal ; it also differs 
materially w ith regard io facts. A strong and pro- 
minent example of this may be seen in its auda- 
cious denial of that plainest and most important 
event in all the the history of the gospel, the death 
of Jesus Christ on the cross. Hear the Avords of 
the great imjx)ster himself on this subject, Avhere, 
speaking of the Jews, he says, " They have spoken 
against Mary a grievous calumny, and have said, 
verily we haA-e slain Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, 
the Apostle of God ; yet they slew him not, neither 
crucified him, but he was represented by one in 
his likeness : and verily they who disagreed con- 
cerning him, were in a doubt as to this matter ; and 
had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only 
an uncertain opinion. They did not really kill him, 
but God took him up unto himself, and God is 
friighty and wise."* 

Mohammed indeed was not the first to propa- 
gate this bold and extravagant falsehood. Even 
in the earliest age of the church, there arose a sect, 
who, with singular effrontery, maintained, that our 
Saviour had suffered in appearance only, and not 

* Koran, chap. iv. vol. i. p. 124. Mohammedan authors 
are not agreed as to the person who, they conceive, was 
crucified in our Lord's stead. See Sale's Koran, chap. iii. 
p. 65-6. note k. 


in reality. But the apocryphal gospel of Barnabas, 
a work which seems to have been originally forged 
by heretical Christians, and since interpolated to 
favour the views of Mohammed and his follo\\'ers, 
corresponds more exactly with the representation 
of the Koran. We are there told, that in the night 
in which Jesus was beti'ayed, at the instant when 
the Jews were about to apprehend him in the gar- 
den, he was miraculously carried up into heaven 
by the ministry of angels ; whilst the traitor Judas, 
taken suddenly in the snare which himself had laid, 
was crucified in his likeness, and his stead. 

But Avhatever may be the con^upt source from 
whence the imposter derived so palpable and no- 
torious a falsehood ; whatever be the cause which 
procured its admittance, whether ignorance or de- 
sign ; the argument is still equally conclusive against, 
both the inspiration of the prophet, and the authenti- 
city of the Koran. 

Nor is the Koran inconsistent only with preced- 
ing revelations, but also with itself. The advo- 
cates for the Mohammedan cause labour indeed to 
obviate any objection which may be drawn from 
these glaring contradictions, by the doctrine of 
abrogation. God, say they, in pursuance of the great 
plan of his Providence, was pleased to command 
many things in the holy Koran, which for wise and 
good reasons he afterwards revoked. But not to 
mention the doubts and uncertainty, which must 
thus have been unavoidablv introduced into a re- 


velation, which ought to bs perfectly clear and ex- 
plicit in all that it commands ; it is evident that 
-such a conduct, though well accommodated to the 
shifting policy of a capricious mortal, is totally in- 
compatible with the eternal wisdom of the immu- 
table God. 

Every revelation, which professes to come from 
God, should doubtless be suited to our apprehen- 
sions of his perfections; but numberless are the in- 
stances in which the Koran either commands or 
permits what is plainly contradictory both to the 
nature of the Deitj^ and to that original law of 
right and wrong which he has universally impres- 
sed on mankind. Indeed the general character of 
its precepts is too strongly marked, for the most 
inattentive observer to doubt of the origin from 
whence they flowed. The impure designs which 
gave birth to the whole system, may be traced in 
almost every subordinate part; even its sublimest 
descriptions of the Deity, even its most exalted 
moral precepts, not infrequently either terminate 
in, or are interwoven with, some provision to gra- 
tify the inordinate cravings of ambition, or some 
license for the indulgence of the corrupt passions 
of the human heart. It has allowed private revenge, 
in the case of murder; it has given a sanction to 
fornication ; and, if any weight be due to the exam- 
ple of its author, it has justified adultery. It has 
made war,, and rapine, and bloodshed, provided 
they be exercised against unbelievers, not only me- 
ritorious acts, but even essential duties to the good 


Mussulman ; duties, by the performance of which 
he may secure the constant favour and protection of 
God and his prophet in this Hfe, and in the next 
entitle himself to the boundless joys of Paradise. 

Thus has the pretended revelation of Moham- 
med accomplished the great end for which it was 
designed, by reforming the coiTuptions which 
time, and the perverseness of human nature, had 
unhappily conspired to introduce into preceding 
revelations ! And thus signally has it improved on 
the pure and spiritual morality of the gospel ! 

From the whole then of what has been said, we 
are justified in concluding, that the Koran, when 
considered by itself, independently of other revela- 
tions, is in every respect unworthy the God of pu- 
rity; and that, when taken on its own principle, as 
grounded on the law and the gospel, it is notori- 
ously and indisputably false. 

We have found tliat it even refutes its own 
claim to a divine authority, as well by what it de- 
nies as by \\'hat it concedes : that, considered in 
the light of a revelation to regu ate oui* conduct, 
and to confirm our hopes, it was altogether unne- 
cessary ; that it is true, so far only as it adopted 
the doctrines of a preceding revelation, and that 
where it differs from them it is grossly improbable, 
or evidently false ; that it contains en'ors which our 
reason may detect, and deformities at which our 
common sense recoils ; in short, that in many in- 

VOL. I. N n 


Stances it is unworthy ot" the wisdom, and in some 
even irrcconcUeablc to the goodness of (iod. 

Even when viewed in the fairest hG;ht, and with 
all the allowances that can reasonably he made in 
fa\our of tliat celebrated work; from a \ iew of its 
real merits, and from a consideration of the pecu- 
liar circumstances under w hich it was written and 
delivered to the world; from its want of invention, 
of order, of consistency ; from the real character 
and abilities of its author; and from the signal ad- 
vantages which he enjoyed in a Umguage copious 
and expressive, harmonious and refined; in the 
years which were spent in previous meditation, 
and the still longer space which was afterwards 
emploved in its com]josition : and abo\ c all, in the 
opinions, the habits, and the prejudices of his 
countr}'men ; I say, from a due consideration of 
these important particulars, we are fully justified 
in denying its haughty and arrogant pretensions to 
a divine original, and in resolving all its merit and 
all its success, into die agency of ordinary and hu- 
man causes. 

As if the purity of Mohammed's motives w ere 
unquestiunaljle, it has been rciuaiked, that *' his 
design of bringing the Pagan Arabs t(j the know- 
ledge of the true Ood, was noljle, and highly to be 
commended:"'* and tjie author, who thus writes, 
is much offended with the learned l^rideaux, who 
more pertinently observes, that the imposter 

• Sale's Preliminary Discourse^ or Preface to the A'o- 
ran^ p. 51. 


*' forced the Arabs to exchange their idolatry for 
another religion altogether as bad."* But Sale is 
not the only writer who has spoken favourably of 
this anti- christian code, which has been translated 
into French and Italian. A pretty subject for 
eulogy, forsooth, when its contents are duly con- 

In this volume of perfection are advanced, for 
instance, the following assertions among others al- 
ready noticed : — That both Jews and Christians 
are idolaters; that the patriarchs and apostles were 
Mohammedans ; that the angels worshipped Adam, 
and that the fallen angels were driven from heaven 
for not doing so; that our blessed Saviour was 
neither God, nor the Son of God ; and that he as- 
sured Mohammed of this, in a conference with 
the Almighty and him ; yet that he M^as both the 
Word and the Spii'it of God : not to mention num- 
berless absiirdities, concerning the Creation, the 
Deluge, the End of the World, the Resurrection, 
and the Day of Judgment, too gross to be received 
by any but the most debased understandings. 

This system of religion has, notwithstanding, 
this striking peculiarity, that it bears witness to 
the truth, while it propagates a lie. Though 
founded itself on imposture, it does not charge 
with imposture either Judaism or Christianity; 
but recognises both as true : it admits the miracles 
both of the Old and New Testament ; it affects to 
reverence the authority of Moses and of Christ; 

* Prideaux's Life of Mahomet ^ p. 67. 


but brings against their disciples the improbable 
charge of falsifying those scriptures, A\hich in 
common with them it professes to revere. Hence, 
some have considered this heterogeneous com- 
pound, rather as a system of heresy, than of infide- 
lity ; the cry of mutilation or intei-polation of the 
scriptures, being the very pretext which heresy 
usually assumes, to favour its own purposes. And 
thus we may easily account for the complacency 
with vv'hich modem Deists and Socinians appear 
to regard the Koran. They admire it, because it 
sets aside those distinguishing doctrines of the 
gospel, the divinity of Christ, and the sacrifice 
upon the cross; and prepares the way, for what 
the former are pleased to dignify with the title of 
Natural Religion^ and the latter, with that of Ra- 
tional Christianiti/. 

The two leading articles in the cfeed of this de- 
nomination of religionists, are — the iinity of God^ 
and the acknowledgjjient of Mohammed as his pro- 
phet ; and in a catechism said to haA e lately been 
printed at Constantinople, for the instruction of 
cliildren educated in the Mohammedan religion, 
some further particulars are added, and the princi- 
pal articles to which the young Mussulman is 
there required to give his assent, are comprised 
in the following declarations : 

" I BELIEVE in the books which have been de- 
livered from heaven to the prophets. In this man- 
ner was the Koran given to Mohammed, the Pen- 
tateuch to Moses, the Psalter to David, and the 


gospel to Jesus. I believe in the prophets, and the 
miracles which they have performed. Adam was 
the first prophet, and Mahomet was the last. I 
believe that, for the space of fifty thousand years^ 
the righteous shall repose under the shade of the 
terrestrial Paradise ; and the wicked shall be ex- 
posed naked to the burning rays of the sun. I be- 
lieve in the bridge Sirat, which passes over the 
bottomless pit of hell. It is as fine as a hair, and as 
sharp as a sabre. All miist pass over it; and the 
wicked shall be thrown off. I believe in the water- 
pools of Paradise. Each of the prophets has, in 
Paradise, a basin for his own use : the water is 
whiter than milk, and sweeter than hone v. On the 
ridges of the pools are vessels to drink out of, and 
they are bordered with stars. I believe in heaven 
and hell. The inhabitants of the former know no 
want, and the Houns who attend them are never 
afflicted with sickness. The floor of Paradise is 
musk, the stones are silver, and the cement gold. 
The damned are, on the contrary, tormented with 
fire, and by voracious and poisonous animals." 

What a farrago of truth and falsehood ! and how 
much does the latter preponderate ? Happy Chris- 
tians ! were they duly sensible of their privileges, 
and did they value, as it deserves, the book that 
was delivered from heaven to them^ — that Book of 
Books wherein are contained, as Mr. Locke has 
very justly observed, " the words of eternal life — 
It has God for its author — Salvation for its end, and 
truth, without arty mixture of error, for its matter." 

286 M H A M M E D I S M 

For a more full and particular account of the 
Molammedan religion, see Sale's Koran and his 
Prel. Discourse prefixed to it ; Reland On Mo- 
hamtvi danism^ 8vo, 1720; Demet. Cantemir^'s Si/s- 
tema Jie/?g7on?s Mnhajnedan^e^ fol. 1727; and the 
works enumerated by the learned Fabricius, in his 
Delectus et Sj/llabiis argumefitorinn pro veritate 
He/igionis Christiana^ cap. 1, p. 733. 

— If the Koran, instead of enlarging our ideas, and 
extending our knowledge of the divine nature and 
attributes, tends to obscure and weaken our per- 
ceptions of them, and to make void that revelation 
of himself which God had before -vouchsafed to 
man ; it is also equally liable to objection with re- 
spect to the worship which it prescribes. 

It was frequently the triumphant boast of St. 
Paul, that the gospel of Jesus Christ had for ever 
freed mankind from the intolerable burden of cere- 
monial obsen'ances. But the Koran renews and 
peqjetuates the sla\'er)', by prescribing to its vota- 
ries a ritual still more oppressive, and entangling 
them again in a yoke of bondage yet more se^'ere 
than that of the law. The Mosaic ceremonies in- 
deed, (however destitute of merit in themselves) 
were yet, when considered with a reference to the 
events \\ ith which they were connected, strikingly 
useful and significant. But arbitrary and unmean- 
ing are the institutions of the prophet of Arabia; in- 
stitutions, whose highest, and indeed only use, even 


in the estimation of their most zealous advocates, is 
that of proving the piety, and exercising the obe- 
dience, of the faithful. And even those ceremonies 
which he evidently borrowed from the Jewish le- 
gislator, no longer possessmg any relative merit, 
and being no longer commemorative of past, or 
typical of future events, cease to be rational and ex- 
pressive acts of devotion. Of those carnal ordi- 
nances, ablutions, and prostrations, with which the 
follower of Mohammed is commanded to approach 
the great Father of spirits ; and of the rigorous fasts 
by which he is directed to mortify his corrupt affec- 
tions, the far greater part had been before intro- 
duced amongst the essentials of religion. Besides 
those which its author prescribed in imitation of 
the law of Moses, there are others which he derived 
front less pure and venerable sources; from the 
senseless and unauthorised traditions of the Rab- 
bins, and from the superstitious customs of the 
barbarous and Pagan Arabs. 

It was a command repeatedly and forcibly im- 
pressed on the Israelites by God himself, that they 
should not, on pain of the most exemplary ven- 
geance, presume to transfer the impious ceremo- 
nies of idol- worship into the service of the living 
God ; or approach the altar 'of Jehovah with the 
same sacrifices and rites, wherewith the nations 
around them served their gods. 

But the daring policy of Mohammed adopted, 
without hesitation, the fanciful and superstitious 
ceremonies with which his countrymen adored their 


imaginar}'^ deities; and scrupled not to sanctify them 
with the authority, and engraft them on the worship, 
of the one true, eternal, and self-subsisting God. 
Of this kind, amidst a \ariety of instances, is that 
great and meritorious act of Mohammedan devo- 
tion, the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca ; an 
act which the Koran has enjoined, and the pious 
Mussulman implicitly performs, as necessary to the 
obtaining pardon of his sins, and qualifying him to 
be a partaker of the alluring pleasures and exquisite 
enjoyments of Paradise. 

To the several articles of faith to which all his 
followers were to adhere, Mohammed added four 
fundamental points of religious practice, \'iz. Prayer 
jive times a day^ Fastings Alms-giving^ and the Pil- 
grimage to Mecca. Under the first of these are com- 
prehended those frequent washings or purifications 
which he prescribed as necessary preparations for 
the duty of prayer.* So necessary did he think them 

* " In their persons, independent of their dress, they (the 
Turk. ) are cleanly, their religion enjoining frequent ablu- 
tions ; and for the convenience of the public, fountains are 
erected on all the principal roads of the empire. These 
ablutions are indeed so often repeated, that the punctual 
observance of them must be very troublesome, and, in 
many instances, highly unnecessary and ridiculous; yet ^he 
Turks, in this respect, are very conscientious. But v/hilst 
they are so exact and pertinacious, in attending to the out- 
ward form and ceremonies of their religion, its essence and 
spirit are, in most cases, neglected ; and vrhilst they rigidly 
observe, what they might with innocence omit, they open- 
ly violate what it is criminal lo disobey." — If a Turk " reads 
the Koran a specified number of times; prays at stated 
hours, either at home or at mosque, five times a day ; and 


that he is said to have declared, that " the practice 
of religion is founded upon cleanHness, which is the 
one half of faith, and the key of prayer." The se- 
cond- oi these he conceived to be a duty of so great 
moment, that he used to say it was the gate of reli- 
gion^ and that "the odour of the mouth of him 
who fasteth is more grateful to God, than that of 
musk."* The third is looked upon as so pleasing 
in the sight of God, that the Caliph Omar Ehn 

conforms to a few of the positive ordinances of his pro- 
phet; he imagines that he has discharged every thing 
which is either requisite or important; and that, as a re- 
compense for such exact and scrupulous obedience, he 
has secured, in a future state, the endless and voluptuous 
enjoyments of his Paradise." Hunter's Travels in 
the year 1792, through France^ Turkey^ and Hungary^ to 
Vienna^ 8vo. 1796. 

* See Modern Univ. Hist. vol. vi. fol. The strictest of 
the Mohammedan fasts is that of the month Ramadan, 
which is the ninth month of the Arabic and Turkish year. 
The prophet acquainted his follovyers, that God sent the 
Koran down from heaven in this month, and that the angel 
Gabriel then delivered it to him chapter by chapter. In 
commemoration of this extraordinary event, Mohammed 
enjoined a fast on this month, which bears some resem- 
blance to our Lent, but is more rigorously observed. It 
consists in abstaining from meat and drink, and from coha- 
biting with their wives each day, from the time they can 
" plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by 
ihe day break" till the end of the evening twilight, and re- 
quires them to be constantly present, during the day, in 
the places of worship. Of such strict obligation is this 
fast, that no artist or labourer is exempt from it ; and the 
sick, travellers, and soldiers in the field, who cannot ob- 

VOL. I. o O 


Abdalazlz used to say: — " Prayer caiTies us hall- 
way to God ; fasting brings us to the door of his 
palace : and alms procures us admission."* And 
the last of these practical religious duties is deem- 
ed so necessary, that, according to a ti'adition of 
Mohammed, he who dies without performing it, 
" may as well die a Jew or a Christian/**! 

serve it in the month Ramadan, are obliged thus to fast 
for another entire month. 

The Mussulmans reckon this month holy, and believe 
that, as long as it lasts, the gates of Paradise are open, 
and those of hell shut. — See its institution in the 2d chap, 
of Sale's Koran, vol. i. p. 33, &c. and D'Herbelot's Bibl._ 

* After remarking the indignities and ill treatment 
which both Jews und Christians never fail to experience 
from the Turks, the traveller just quoted, adds — " In some 
few respects, however, the Turks are well meaning, hos- 
pitable, and charitable. The bestowing of alms is one of 
the principal duties of their religion, and there are various 
institutions in different parts of the empire, for the relief 
of poor Mussulmen ; for the erection and maintenance of 
khans or inns for the accommodation of indigent travel- 
lers; and for enabling the needy to perform their pilgri- 
mage to Mecca," &c. " They are also very careful of 
their domestic animals; of their horses they are passion- 
ately fond ; and such is their respect for dogs, that at Con- 
stantinople there is a public charity for their support !" 

t See the 2d, od, and 22d chap, of the Koran. To the 
Caaba, or sacred temple at Mecca, every Mohammedan, 
who has health, arid means sufficient, ought once, at least, 
in his lifetime, to goon pilgrimage; nor are women excus- 
ed from the performance of this duty ; and all they who 
have performed it, are confident that they are absolved 
fiom all sm, and sure of being rewarded with the joys of 
Paradise. The pil^jrims " set out from Constantinople in 
a caravan in the month of May, and repair to Damascus, 


As to the yiegative precepts and institutions of 
this religion, the Mohammedans are forbidden the 
use of wine, and are prohibited from gaming, usury, 
and the eating of blood and swine's flesh, and what- 
ever dies of itself, or is sti-angled, or killed by a 
blow, or by another beast. 

They are said, however, to comply with the pro* 
hibition of gaming, (from which chess seems to be 
excepted,) much better than they do with that of 
wine, under which all strong and inebriating li- 
quors are included ; for both the Persians and 
Turks are in the habit of drinking freely. 

Friday is observed by the Mohammedans as 
their Sundav or-Sabbath, or is more respected by 
them than any other dayof the week, because they 
believe it was on that day that Mohammed fled 
from Mecca to Medina. 

where they join the other pilgrims from Natolia and Asia. 
Afterwards they unite with those that come from Persia, 
and fiom Egypt, and other parts of the Ottoman empire. 
The whole number commonly amounts to 60,000," who are 
obliged to be at Mecca by the beginning of the month JDhu'- 
Ihajja, which is peculiarly set apart for the celebration of 
this solemnity. Hence devotion has established an annual 
fair at Mecca, which has long become a place of traffic, to 
which the pious Mussulman carries the merchandise of his 
country, and returns home with the richest goods of other 
places. — Some account of this pilgrimage, and of the cere- 
monies prescribed to those who perform it, may be seen m 
the 4th sect, of Mr. Sale's Prel. Uiscoume. They are, 
doubtless, highly exceptionable, not only as being silly and 
ridiculous in themselves, but also as relics of idolatrous su- 


Circumcision, though it be not so much as once 
mentioned in the Koran, is yet held by the Moham- 
medans to be an ancient divine institution ; and, 
thouc^h not so absolutely necessary but that it may be 
dispensed with in some cases, yet highly proper and 
expedient. But as the ancestors of the Arabians, 
viz. the Ishmaelites, did not circumcise their chil- 
dren till they \\'ere about t^velve or thirteen years of 
age, the disciples of Mohammed imitate them so 
far as to defer the circumcision of their children, 
till they can distinctly pronounce the two leading 
articles of their faith, " There is no God but God, 
and Mohammed is his prophet ;" or, till any conve- 
nient time between the age of six and sixteen.*^ 

The Mohammedan clergy are numerous ; their 
body in Turkey is composed of all the learned in 
that empire ; and they are likewise the only teach- 
ers of the law, and must be consulted in all impor- 
tant cases. In their capacity of lawyers, or inter- 
preters of the Koran, which, in most cases, is the 
code of laws, the clergy are called Ylana^ or the in- 
structed in the law. The grand Sultan himself as 
Caliph, or successor to Mohammed, who died a 
prince and a pontiff, tlie head in spiritual affairs as 
well as in temporal, is their head ; but their actual 
chief is the Muftij an ecclesiastic of great authority 
and political influence. He is appointed by the 
Grand Signior ; is sovereign ]:)ontift', expounder of 
the law of Mohammed, and supreme director of 
all religious concerns. He is regarded as the oracle 

• See Reland de Rel. Moh. lib. i. p. 75, and Sale's Prel. 
Discourse, sect. 4. 


of sanctity and wisdom ; and having an extensive 
authority, both over the actions and consciences of 
men, his office is one of the most honourable and 
lucrative in the empire. The Sultan encourages a 
great veneration for him, pays him great external 
homage himself, and pretends to consult him in all 
doubts and difficulties. The concuiTence of the 
Mufti justifies the Sultan's conduct, and silences 
the discontents of the people, who are persuaded, 
that whatever he consents to, is approved by the 
Deity. Hence it too often happens, that he must 
confirm his edicts, and ratify all his mandates, even 
the most iniquitous, unless he prefers a good con- 
science to his life or his situation. But in what way 
soever the Sultan may be disposed to punish a con- 
scientious and unpliant Mufti, he cannot take from 
him his property, that being considered as sacred ; 
and the same is likewise one of the privileges en- 
joyed by the successors or descendants of Moham- 
med, who are called Emirs^ or Sherifs. 

The priests employed in the rites of public wor- 
ship, are called Imams^ a word answering to the 
Latin Antistes ; and the Mohammedan temples are 
known by the name of Mosques^ which it is not 
lawful for any one to enter with shoes or slippers 
on his feet.* — Among the Turks there are eight 

* " Through all the East the custom has immemorially 
prevailed, of entering the temple of God, divested of their 
sandals, lest any pollution adhering should defile the pure 
abode of the Deity ; and it is practised by the Mohamme- 
dans at this day." Maurice On the Oriental Trimties,ii. 99. 


religious orders ; * and their monks are called Der- 
vises, and lead, in general, a very austere life. The 
Mosques are very richly endowed, and the estates 
A\hich they have acquired are become sacred, and 
cannot be taken away even by the most arbitrary 
despots. The revenues of some of the royal 
Mosques are said to amount to the enormous sum 
of 60,000/. sterling.! 

Many opulent persons assign their estates over 
to the Mosques, even m their lifetime, and pay them 
a small annual rent, ^^'hich ensures them the pos- 
session during life ; and after their death, the whole 
♦> is the property of the church. But indeed the 
founders of all the Mohammedan temples never 
fail to endow them, and to establish necessary and 
perpetual revenues for the support not only of the 
Mosques, but of the ministers ^ho perform ser- 
vice in them. Among these there is commonly a 
preacher, who bears the name of Scheykh, and is 
obliged to preach e\ ery Friday, usually after the 
solemn service at noon. Few of the preachers de- 
liver their discourses from memory : tliey seldom 
touch upon pointsof controversy in their discourses, 
but generally preach upon the dogmas, the cere- 
monies of worship, and moral duties. The most 
bold and zealous Scheykhs venture to explain the 
duties of ministers, of magisti'ates, of princes, and 
e\'en of the Sultan. They declaim against vice, 

* Dallavvay, in hi-i Constantinofilc, t^. 129, says, that there 
are 34 orders of Mohammedan monks. 
■■ Hunter's Travels. 


luxury, and corruption of manners; and they in- 
veigh with vehemence, and generally with impunity, 
against the unjust, venal, and oppressive conduct 
of tyrants, who presume to violate the laws and 
religion of their country. The Sultans sometimes 
attend at these sermons; and they generally, on 
these occasions, present the preacher with twent}', 
thirty, or forty ducats, which are given him in a 
ceremonious manner, in the name of the sovereign, 
when he descends from the pulpit.* 

Sects. — However successful and triumphant ah 
extra^ the progress of the followers of Mohammed 
received a considerable check by the civil dissen- 
sions which arose among themselve soon after his 
death. Abuhcker and Al'i^ the former the father- 
in-law, and the latter the son-in-law, of this pre- 
tended prophet, aspired both to succeed him in 
the* empire which he had erected. Upon this arose 
a cruel and tedious contest, whose flames produced 
that schism which divided the Mohammedans into 
two gi'eat factions ; and this separation not only 
gave rise to a variety of opinions and rites, but also 
excited the most implacable hatred, and the most 
deadly animosities, which have been continued to 
the present day. With such furious zeal is this 
contention still carried on between these two fac- 
tions, who are distinguished by the name of Son- 
nites and Sc/iiites,-\ that each party detest and 

* Zimmerman's Polit. Survey of Eiiro/ie,\>. 356, &c. and 
D'Ohosson's Hiatonjofthe Ottoman Emfiire, vol. i. p. 485, &c. 

t The former of these two sects, by a general name, are 
called 'S'onnzVfs, i. e. Tradilionists J because they acknow- 


anathematise the otlier as abominable heretics, and 
farther from the truth than either the Christians or 
the Jeu s. 

The chief points wherein they differ are: — 1. 
That the Schiites reject Abubeker, Omar, and 
Othman, the three first Ca//Js,* as usurpers and 
intruders ; w hereas the Sonnites acknowledge and 
respect them as rightful Califs or Imams. — 2. The 

ledge tlie authority of the Sorma, or collection of moral tra- 
ditions of the sayings and actions of their prophet, which is 
a sort of supplement to the Koran, direciin.^ the observance 
of several things omiliecl in that book, and, in name, as 
well as design, answering to the Aliahna of the Jews. 

The Schiites arc so called from the Arabic word Sc/iidi, 
which signifies in general a com/iany or fiarty. 

The Sonnites and Schiites among the Mohammedans 
answer, in a great measure, to the Rabbinisls and Karaites 
among the Jews; and it likewise appears that lie same 
antipathy subsists between them. 

* Calijih^ or KhaHJ\ in the Arabic, signifies successor or 
vicar ; the C;iliphs bearing the same relation '.o Mohammed 
that the Popes pretend they do to Jesus Christ, or to St. 
Peter. D'llcrhelot, in his Bibl. Orient, defines the term, 
" a sovereign dignity among the Mohammedans, vested 
with absolute authority in all matters relating both to reli- 
gion and policy." It is now one of the Grand Signior's 
lilies, as successor of Mohammed ; and of the Sophi of 
Persia, as successor of Ali ; but it no longer necessarily 
implies the discharge of any ecclesiastical office or duty ; 
for after the destruction of tiie Caliphate by Hulaku, the 
Mohammedan princes appointed a particular oflficer, in 
their respective dominions, who sustains the sacred autho- 
rity of Caliph or Jmiim, \. c. chief priest of Mussul- 
manism. In Turkey this officer goes under the denomi- 
nation of Mufii, and in Persia under liiat of Sadne. 


Schiites prefer Ali to Mohammed, or, at least, 
esteemed them both equal ; but the Sonnites admit 
neither Ali, nor any of the prophets, to be equal to 
Mohammed. — 3. The Sonnites charge the Schiites 
with corrupting the Koran, and neglecting its pre- 
cepts ; and the Schiites retort the same charge on 
the Sonnites. — 4. The Sonnites receive the Sonna, 
or book of traditions of their prophet, as of cano- 
nical authority ; whereas the Schiites reject it as 
apocryphal, and unworthy of credit. And to these 
disputes, and some others of less moment, is prin- 
cipally owing the antipathy which has long reigned 
between the Turks and the Persians ; for among 
the Sonnites, or followers of Abubeker, we are to 
reckon the Turks, Tartars, Arabians, Africans, and 
the greatest part of tlie Indian Mohammedans; 
whereas the Persians and the subjects of the grand 
Mogul, are generally considered as Schiites, or 
followers of Ali ; though the latter indeed seem to 
observe a strict neutrality in this contest. 

Besides these two grand factions, there are va- 
rious other subordinate sects among the Moham- 
medans, which dispute witli warmth concerning 
several points of religion, though without violating 
the rules of mutual toleration. And these different 
sects have been distinguished or divided into two 
sorts, those generally esteemed orthodox, and those 
which are deemed heretical. 

The former are the Sonnites, who are subdivided 
into four chief sects, of which the 1st is that of the 

VOL. I. p p 


HanefiteSy \\\\o generally prevail amcnfr the Turks 
and Tartai-s; — 2(1, tliat of the Malcates, whose 
doctrine is chiefly follow ed in Barbiirv, and other 
ixirts of Africa ; — 3d, that of the S/utfcitcs^ \\ ho 
are chiefly confined to Arabia and Persia; — and 
the 4th orthodox sect is that of die Ilanhalites, who 
are not \ery numerous, and seldom to be met with 
out of the limits of Arabia. 

The heretical sects among the Mohammedans, 
are those which are accounted to hold heterodox 
opmions in fundamentals, or matters of faith ; and 
they are variously compounded and decomjx)unded 
of the opinions of four chief sects ; — the jMutazalites 
— the Safdtians — ihtA'/uircJites — luidUie iSchiites.^ 

Besides these leading Mohammedan sects, and 
their various ramifications, a numerous and power- 
ful party of Deists or Infidels, know n by the name 
of JFahabeeSy have arisen in Arabia of late years ; 
and, it seems, are daily gaining ground, so as to 
threaten the downfalof Mohammedism in that ver) 
country in which it made its first appearance. 

For some account of them, see tlie article Dcist.^ 
in the last volume of diis work. 

• For an account of the IVIohammedan Sects, both an- 
cient and modern, sec Hottinger's Histor. Orient. lib. ii. 
cap. 6 ; Chardin's Voyages en Persc^ torn. ii. p. 263 ; He- 
land De Religione Turcica, Ijh. i. pp. 36, 70, 74, 85 ; Ri- 
caul'a State rj" the Offomun K7r.Jiircy book ii. chap, 12 ; Sale's 
Preliminary Dincoumc, 8cct. 3; and ihc 7th vol. of the 
^sialic Rcs(.archca, 

and mohammedans. 299 

Countries where found, Numbers, &c.— ' 
Of the four religious systems now considered, only 
Christianity and Mohammedism profess to be a 
rule of religion to all countries ; and it is a matter 
of serious regret, that the latter of these two ex- 
ceeds the former in extent of tetritory, and comes 
but little short of it in the number of professors. 
It exceeds it in extent of territory, for the Moham- 
medan religion is established in, or prevails through- 
out — The Turkish dominions in Europe ^"^ Asia, and 
Africa, viz. Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Candia, 
Cyprus, Natolia, Syria, part of Amienia, Egypt, 
&c. — The Barbary States, viz. Morocco, Algiers, 
Tunis, Tripoli, Fez, &c. — Africa Interior, viz. 
Fezzan, Tombuctoo, Kassina, Bornou, Darfoor, 
Nubia, Sccf — The eastern coast of Africa, and the 
island of Madagascar, viz. Adel, Zanguebar, Mo- 
zambique, Sofala, &:c. — Arabia; — The Persian 
States, viz. Persia, Korasan, and part of Armenia. 
— The Russian States of Little Tartary, Astrakan, 
Kazan, Kirghis, Kazaks, Kolhyvane, &c. — The 
Independent Tartars, viz. those of Turkestan, Bu- 
charia, Balk, Karasm, the Usbecs, &c. — Hindos- 
tan;X — The Eastern Islatids of Malaya, Sumatra, 

* Moldavia and Wallachia are here excepted, as they are 
governed by Christian princes, (styled Hosfiodars,) who are 
tributary to the Grand Signior,and almost all their inhabi- 
tants are Christians, and of the Greek Church. 

t It does not appear that the doctrine of Mohammed 
ever penetrated into Abyssina: it is also doubtful whether 
it was ever established in C ylon. 

\ In Hisdostan, the hlj^'ier classes are said to be for the 
most part Mussulmans, and the lower classes Gentoos ; and 


Java, Borneo, Celebes, Mindanao, Luzon, &c. It 
has likewise made many proselytes in various other 
countries, as in China, &c.* 

Hence it appears that there are, at this day, at 
least three Mohammedan empires — those of Tur- 
key, Persia, and Morocco ; but the greater part of 
the subjects of many Mohammedan princes, are 
either Christians, as in European Turkey, where 
these last are supposed to amount to nearly two- 

the disciples of Mohammed are there supposed to amount 
to from 10 to 15,000,000. 

* Were I here to include France within the extent of 
Mohammedism, I should no doubt have very high autho- 
rity for so doins ; for the commander of the French army 
in Egypt in i798, the very same who now disgraces the 
imperial purple, thus addressed by proclamation the na- 
tives of Egypt : " In the name of God, i^racious and mer- 
ciful : thcie is no God, but God; he has no son or associate 
in his kingdom. — The French adore the Supreme Being, 
and honour the prophet and his holy Ktiran." — Again, " ihtt 
French are true Mussulmas — they liave at all limes been 
the true and sincere iriends of the Otionvan Emperors, and 
the enemies of their enemies. May the empire of the 
Sultan therefore be eternal," Sec. Sec. 

Intercefited letters, cited by Mr. Kelt in his Hist, the In- 
terfireter of Profihecy, vol. ii. p. 258, Sec. 

After this mark of Bonaparte's policy — hypocrisy, open 
and barefaced mendacity, (or whatever the reader may be 
pleased to call it,) with a view to gain a favourite point ; 
we could not surely be greatly surprised were we to ascer- 
tain every doubling and winding, or the whole extent, of 
the same mean and wicked arts which he had no doubt em- 
ployed, and as appears, more successfully employed, to 
gain a much higher object — to raise him to the throne 
'Which he has now usurped. 


thirds of the population ; or Pagans, as in Hisdostan, 
where the Hindoos and other idolaters are thought 
to exceed the Mohammedans in point of numbers 
almost in the proportion of eight or nine to one. 

Christianit}'^ has to boast of Spain, Portugal, Ma- 
jorca, Minorca, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, 
&c. as re-conquests from the followers of Moham- 
med; at the same time, it is matter of just regret, 
that they still possess large and fair territories in 
Europe, Asia, and Africa, from which, at an early 
period of their history, they had jostled out the dis- 
ciples of Christ. In most Mohammedan coun- 
tries, Christianity is indeed still professed more or 
less, but its adherents are there exposed to cruel 
treatment, and heavy taxes, and are only tolerated 
by a kind of connivance, as a vehicle of enormous 
extortion. Turks only are privileged to wear the 
turban;* and in many places, as in Egypt, the num- 
ber of Christians may be estimated, by means of 
their KaradJ, or tickets of capitation. 

All calculation with a view to ascertain the num- 
bers of Mohammedans throughout the world, must 

* The Crescent, which is displayedon the topof all their 
mosques, &c. is the badge of Mohammedans, as the cross is 
that of Christians ; but their turban or head-dress, which 
consists of two parts, a cap and s ish of fine linen or tafrety<, 
artfully wound in divers plaits around the cap, is used by 
them to distinguisli their two grand sects, the sash of the 
Turks or Sonnites turban being made of white linen ; that 
of the Persians or Schiitesj of red woollen. 


be, in a great measure, arbitrary, as no registers 
are kept by them of births, deaths, or marriages; 
and they have even superstitious prejudices against 
numbering their people. They, however, have 
been calculated to amount to about 140,000,000. 

It is remarkable, that Mohammed began his im- 
posture in the very year that Boniface, Bishop of 
Rome, by virtue of a grant from the t}Tant Pho- 
cas I., assumed the title of universal bishop. Mo- 
hammedism is now thought to be in its wane, as 
well as the church of Rome, and as they thus both 
rose together, some respectable divines are of opi- 
nion that they will likewise fall together, and that 
that event is at no great distance. But while our 
endeavours have been dii'ected to the instruction of 
ignorant and savage ti'ibes, the task of converting 
the less barbarous nations, who are led away by 
the false pretensions of the Arabian imposter, and 
thereby hastening this event, has been constantly 
declined as impracticable, or even opposed as inex- 
pedient and dangerous . 

Some obstacles in the way of this duty have 
already been noticed; but notwithstanding these 
and others, both the expediency and the practica- 
bility of it are maintained by several authors whose 
opinion is deserving of regard, particularly by Dr. 
White, in his able sermon already quoted in tliis 

See above p. 165. 

and mohammedans. 303 

Causes of its original success, and of 

ITS continuance to the present day. 

Among all the instances of audacious and success- 
ful imposture, which history has recorded, none 
has been more widely diffused, or more firmly esta- 
blished, than that of the pretended prophet of Ara- 
bia. Born in an obscure and uncivilised country, 
entitled to no pre-eminence of power or authority, 
the grand imposter, by the mere force of a bold 
and fertile genius, assisted by a concurrence of cir- 
cumstances universally auspicious to his design, 
was enabled to obtain the most unbounded empire 
over the minds as well as persons of a very large 
portion of mankind; and together with a temporal 
kingdom, to introduce and fix a religion, which has 
subsisted in almost undiminished vigour to the pre- 
sent times, through the long period of near twelve- 
hundred years. 

But we must be careful not to confound what 
is uncommon, with what is supernatural : what can 
be accounted for by human means, we ought not 
hastily and indiscriminately to ascribe to divine. 
In order to accomplish the mysterious designs of 
his providerce, the Deity is often pleased to permit 
the success of those actions and opinions, M'hich it 
is contrary to his nature and attributes to approve. 
Success therefore, which is not only compatible 
with the existence of a revelation immediately pro- 
ceeding from God, but even inseparable from it in 
our ideas, must not be insisted upon as directly 
and properly demonstrative of the sources whence 


any religion flowed. No — the causes of the origi- 
nal success of Mohammedism may clearly be 
traced — in the scandalous divisions, and deplora- 
ble corruptions of the Christian church ; in the po- 
litical and religious state of Arabia ; in the indepen- 
dence and want of union among its tribes; in the 
gross ignorance (particularly with regard to reli- 
gion) of its barbarous and uncivilised inhabitants; 
and lastly, in the nature and genius of Mohammed- 
ism itself: viz. — in the fascinating allurements of 
its promised rewards, in their agreeableness to the 
propensities of corrupt nature in general, and to 
those of the inhabitants of warmer climates in par- 
ticular ; in the artful accommodation of its doc- 
trines and its rites to the preconceived opinions, the 
favourite passions, and the deep rooted prejudices 
of those to whom it was addressed ; in the poetic 
elegance with \Ahich its doctrines, its precepts, and 
its histories were adorned ; and, in the captivating 
manner in which they were delivered.* 

It appears, from the express and universal testi- 
mony of history, that every circumstance of the 
times, every particular in the manners and situa- 
tion of mankind, plainly and forcibly concurred to 
favour the bold and artful imposture. 

But of all the arguments by which the cause of 
Mohammedism has been promoted in the world, 

* See Demetr. Cantcmir Dc Statu Imfi. Turcici, fol. 1722, 
or Dr. Apthorp's Discourses on Prophecy., vol. ii. p. 174. 


none perhaps has been found more powerful than, 
that of the sword. — Mohammed's definition of war 
was decertatio pro via Dei. " The sword," says 
he, " is the key of heaven and hell ; a drop of blood 
shed in the cause of God, or a night spent in ai-ms, 
is of more avail than two months of fasting or 
prayer. Whosoever falls in batde, his sins are 
forgiven at the day of judgment; his wounds shall 
be resplendent as vermilion, and odoriferous as 
musk, and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied 
by the wings of angels and cherubims !" 

Both he and his immediate followers lived up to 
the principle of this doctrine of force. To their 
Pagan subjects no other alternative was allowed 
than an immediate desertion of their former errors, 
and conversion to the faith, or an instant and cruel 
death by the hands of a barbarous zealot. To the 
Christian indeed, the policy, rather than the mercy 
of his Mohammedan conquerors, offered a some- 
what milder choice : he was allowed the peculiar 
privilege of compounding for the preservation of 
his religion and his life, by the payment of a con- 
stant and heavy tribute. What extraordinary effi- 
cacy this mode of conversion must have carried 
with it, to men who had already lost almost every 
thing but the name of their religion, may easily be 
imagined. Nor can we wonder, if in this situation 
of affairs, the still small voice of conscience was 
unheard amidst the cries of interest; or if temporal 
ease and security under the banners of a victorious 
prophet, were preferred to that scandal and those 

VOL. I. Q^ q 


distresses, to which the religion of a lowly and cru- 
cified Saviour now subjected its professors. 

As the corrupt and distracted state of tlie Chris- 
tian church had originally assisted the rise, so did 
it operate w4th still greater force in favour of the 
subsequent progress of Mohammedan imposture. 
If indeed we allow to this cause its proper influence ; 
if we consider the weakness of the surrounding na- 
tions, and the natural strength of Arabia, now col- 
lected and pointed to one object ; if we reflect on 
that fervour of zeal, and that wildness of enthu- 
siasm, which were now superadded to the native 
valour of a hardy and warlike people ; we shall 
cease to wonder at the victories and triumphs they 
obtained over the lukewarm and degenerate defen- 
ders of the gospel. 

Of these victories and these triumphs the propa- 
gation of their new faith was the professed object 
and design: thus by violence and bloodshed had 
the prophet himself finally esblished his religion 
among his countrymen ; and thus had he expressly 
commanded his followers to extend it over all the 
regions of the earth. 

" I never wondered," says an able and ingenious 
author, " that the attempts of Mohammed to esta- 
blish his religion, were crowned with success. 
When I peruse the Koran, and examine the mate- 
rials of which it is composed; when 1 observe how 
much the work is indebted to the Jewish and Chris- 


tian revelations ; when I survey the particular part 
which Mohammed or his agents supplied ; when I 
see with how much art the whole is accommodated 
to the opinions and habits of the Jews, Christians, 
and Pagans ; when I consider what indulgences it 
grants, and what future scenes it unfolds ; when I 
advert to the peculiar, circumstances of the times, 
when its authors formed the vast design of assum- 
ing the royal and prophetic character; and more 
than all, when I contemplate the reformer at the 
head of a conquering army, the Koran in one hand, 
and in the other a sword ; I cannot be surprised at 
the civil and religious revolution, which has im- 
mortalised his name. With his advantages, how 
could he fail of success ? every thing favoured the 
enterprise : the nations beheld a military apostle ; 
and they who were unconvinced by his arguments, 
trembled at his sword."* 

Of the continuance of Mohammedism, when 
thus established, and of its existence to the present 
times, various causes might be assigned, whose 
joint operation would be sufficient to account fully 
for the effect, without having recourse to any mi- 
raculous or particular interposition of Providence* 
Of these causes I shall mention one only, and that, 
because it appears to be of peculiar force and im- 

In almost all those countries which acknowledge 
the authority of Mohammed, so intimajte is the con- 

* Mr. Clarke's Answer to the Question, Why are you a 

Christian ? 


nexion, so absolute the dependence of the civil go- 
vernment on religion, that any change in the latter 
must necessarily and inevitably involve the ruin and 
overthrow of the former. 

The Koran is not, like the gospel, to be consi- 
dered merely as the standaid by \\hich the religious 
opinions, the worship, and the practice of its fol- 
lowers, are regulated ; but it is also a political sys- 
tem : on this foundation the throne itself is erected ; 
from hence every law of the state is derived; and 
by this authority every question of life, and of pro- 
;perty, is finally decided.* 

It is obvious, therefore, that, in every country 
where Mohammedism had been once received and 
established, this circumstance must have operated 
with uncommon weight to crush any important in- 
novation in religion : since, from this inseparable con- 
nexion between the sanctions of religion and those 
of the state, every such innovation could be consi- 
dered in no other light, than as an attempt to over- 
turn the cIa il government, to loosen the bands of 
society, and to destroy every privilege of law, and 
every security of property. 

Such then being the circumstances, and such 

* " The authority of the supreme magistrate is founded 
upon the Koran ; the doctrines of this book arc the basis of 
his throne ; so that any change in religion must disturb his 
government, and a religious innovator is considered as an 
enemy to the prince." — Dr. Ryan's Hist, of the Effects of 
Bcli^iori, p. 372. 


the means by which the religion of Mohammed 
was so widely diffused, and so firmly established 
in the world ; its success, however astonishing, is 
capable of being accounted for by mere human 
causes ; and consequently to suppose any extraor^ 
dinary and particular interposition of the Deity, is 
evidently unnecessary and absurd. Success alone 
affords no absolute proof of the favour and appro- 
bation of God ; no determinate and appropriate evi- 
dence for the truth, or divine original, of any doc- 
trines or opinions : for is it not evident that he per- 
mits error to prevail in the world, nay sometimes to 
a greater extent than the truth itself? 

Ultimately, indeed, this awful and memorable 
change in the religion and manners of so great a 
part of mankind, like every other human event, 
must be refeiTed to the overruling providence of 
that God, whose judgments are unsearchable, and 
whose ways are past finding out; whose wisdom 
imiformly bringeth good out of evil ; and who mak- 
eth even the violence of the wicked, and the arti- 
fices of the imposter, subservient to the accomplish- 
ment of his gracious, though mysterious designs. 

Let not then the Christian be offended, or the 
infidel triumph at the successful establishment and 
long continuance of so acknowledged an imposture, 
as affording any reasonable ground of objection 
against our most holy faith. 

Let these events rather be considered as evi- 
dences of its truth ; as accomplishments of the ge- 


nerxil pfl'ediction of our Lord, that " false Christs 
and false prophets should arise, and should deceive 
many ;" and especially of thzX particular and express 
prophecy in the Revelation,* which has been de- 
Sf termined, by the ablest commentators, to relate to 
the imposter Mohammed, and his false and impious 
religion ; which " arising like a smoke out of the 
bottomless pit," suddenly overshadowed the East- 
em world, and involved its WTetchsd inhabitants in 
darkness and in error. 

Miscellaneous Remarks on its effects, 
&c. — The faith of Mohammed, wherever it is esta- 
blished, is united with despotic power. On the 
banks of the Ganges, and on the shores of the Cas- 
pian, under the influence of climates the most un- 
like, and manners the most opposite, it is still found 
accompanied with servitude and subjection : every 
free and every gallant people whom it has involved 
in the progress of its power, have abandoned their 
rights when they enlisted themselves under the 
])anner of the prophet ; and have forgotten, in the 
title of the faithful^ the pride of independence, and 
die security of freedom. 

Its followers are distinguished also by a spirit of 
hostility and hatred to the rest of mankind. Where- 
ever it has established itself, the relations of situa- 
tion, of language, and of national policy, have been 
controuled by the influence of religious enmity. 
The regulations which it prescribes for the conduct 

/ * Revel, chap. ix. v. Ij &c. 


of private life, have a tendency to separate the Mus- 
sulman from all communion with other men, and 
all participation of the offices of humanity : and in 
every period of its history, the pride or the jealousy, 
which it has inspired, seems to have represented 
the rest of mankind as enemies with whom, while 
they opposed the prophet's power, it were impious 
to converse, and whom it was even meritorious to 
desti'oy. To the pious Mussulman the rest of 
mankind are proscribed, as the objects of his aver- 
sion or contempt : the hand of his prophet has even 
marked repeatedly, and authoritatively, the limits 
within which his humanity ought to be employed; 
and, to his eye, the various multitudes who stand 
without the barrier, are blended under one common 
colouring of ignorance and opposition to the truth, 
and of hopeless exclusion from the knowledge of 
the divine will here, and the privileges of the diT 
vine favour hereafter. The sword, by which the 
conquests of the prophet were attained, and which 
far more effectually than the boldness of his preten- 
sions, or the wisdom of his Koran, subdued the 
obstinate prepossessions of his countiymen, is left 
as the most precious inheritance to the successors 
of his power; and, while their piety is united with 
their ambition and their pride, to the private Mus- 
sulman the prospect of eternal enjoyment is held 
out as the reward of his labours in the desolation 
of humanity. The honour erf" his country, the suc- 
cess of his faith, and the sense of the importance 
and superiority of his own character, are connected 
with the spirit of undistinguishing and uncontrouled 
hostility to the rest of his species : and the same 


fatal delusions which occasionally deluged the East 
for ages in blood, have silentlj^, but uniformly, ope- 
rated upon the private sentiments of men, so as to 
narroAv their social affections within the bounds of 
their own persuasion, and to create enemies in all 
that are not numbered under the banners of the 

While the religion of Mohammed thus naturally 
tends to divide mankind, whether as individuals or 
nations, from each other ; and while it checks the 
diftusion of humanity, by retarding the improve- 
ment and happiness of human kind; its effects are 
no less malignant upon the intellectual powers, and 
the moral character of man. 

Among the nations who have embraced it, a de- 
gree of ignorance is conspicuous that is strangely 
inconsistent v\ ith that instinctive emulation, which 
the improvement of neighbouring states usually ex- 
cites in the vanity of individuals, or the policy of 

Their progress in science, their capacity to in- 
vent, and even their willingness to adopt any useful 
or elegant arts, bear no proportion to their zeal and 
activity in the support of their religious tenets. 
Throughout every country ^^ here Mohammedism 
is professed, the same deep pause is made in philo- 
sophy ; and the same wide chasm is to be seen be- 
tween the opportunities of men to improve, and 
their actual improvement. Knowledge is not only 
neglected, but despised ; not only the materials of 


it are banished, but the very desire of recovering 
and applying them is totally extinguished Hence 
the bold sallies of invention are checked, the pa- 
tient efforts of industry are unknown, and they who 
contribute not by their own discoveries to the com- 
mon stock, are at the same time too perverse to 
adopt, and too proud to revere, what has been disco- 
vered by other men. The evil is, indeed, hope- 
less, when the remedy itself is rejected with loath- 
ing and contempt : for how can the Mohammedans 
emerge from that ignorance, which they are accus- 
tomed to consider as meritorious ? What power of 
reason will be sufficient to break the magic spell, 
which now holds them in bondage to the tyranny 
of the despot, the policy of the priest, and the bigo- 
try of the vulgar ? 

Under the influence of Mohammedan belief, the 
human mind appears to have lost somewhat of its 
capacity and power ; the natural progress of man- 
kind, whether in government, in manners, or in 
science, has been retarded by some secret princi- 
ple of private indolence or external controul ; and 
over the various nations who have either assented 
to the faith, or submitted to the arms, of the impos- 
ter, some universal, but baleful, influence seems to 
have operated, so as to counteract every diversity 
of national character, and restrain every principle 
of national exertion. 

Equally baleful is its influence on the concep- 
tions of the imagination, and the direction of the 

VOL. I. R r 


appetites. The doctrines which the prophet of 
Arabia has taught concerning the divme perfections, 
too frequently accord with the ]oA\est ideas of the 
human mind ; and though they are at times illu- 
minated by sublime or magnificent images, yet 
many of the supposed beauties of the Koran 
consist rather in the brilliancy of the language, 
than in the majesty of the thought. How much 
Mohammed was indebted to the WTitings of the 
prophets and of the evangelists, for the greater part 
of what is sublime or beautiful in his theology, his 
compositions declare : but with this sacred and hal- 
lowed imagery he blended the impure superstitions 
and gross conceptions of his counti'ymen. Hence 
the God of Abraham and of Moses, the incompre- 
hensible being who, in the language of Isaiah, 
" liveth from eternity to eternity," is associated 
with the gross and limited attributes of Eastern 
idolatry ; and the altar which is erected to the Fa- 
ther of universal nature, is commanded to be ap- 
proached with the slavish rites of a timorous and 
abject superstition. Of that eternity, the represen- 
tation of which forms so great a part of every reli- 
gion, the ideas which Mohammed has given, are 
not more pure or more consistent. Of such a sys- 
tem of opinions, so perplexed by inconsistency,* 

* Mr. Gibbon intimates, that Mohammed was indebted 
lor his Koran to his own researches, and not to the assis- 
tance of Jews or Christians; since <' the uniformity of a 
work denotes the hand of a single artist." But within a 
few pages he afterwards admits, that in a version of the Ko- 
ran, " the European infidel will peruse with impatience the 
endless incoherent rhapsody of fable and precept, and dc- 


and so debased by impurity, the effect upon the 
mind is obvious. Though all men probably can 
feel the sublimity of those descriptions which some- 
times occur, yet the impression is momentary ; but 
the apprehensions which are entertained of the 
Deity from his agency, and the conceptions which 
are formed of futurity from its employments, are 
permanent. The beauties of the Koran may cap- 
tivate the fancy ; but its errors at once delude the 
judgment, degrade the spirit, and pollute the affec- 
tions. How can the follower of Mohammed, there- 
fore, feel any enlargement given to his understand- 
ing, from representations of a Deity who, though 
sometimes eloquently or magnificently described, 
is yet familiarised to his apprehension in the cha- 
racter of an impure or capricious being ? How can 
he be excited to the exercise or improvement of 
the higher powers of his nature, by the views 
which his religion affords him of a futmity in which 
these powers seem to be unemployed; in which 
the enjoyments of animal pleasure form a great 
part of the reward assigned to virtue ; and to the 
relish of which no other preparations seem neces- 
sary, than to assimilate the mind to an ambition as 
limited, and to desires as impure ? 

damation, which seldom excites a sentiment or an idea ; 
which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes lost 
in the clouds." (History, chap. 1.) Now admitting the 
truth of the proposition here laid down by this philosophic 
historian, does it not follow, that that uniformity and consis- 
tency of a work which denote " the hand of a single artist," 
are wanting not only in the Koran, but also in the Decline 
and £aU of the Roman Empire ? 


One doctrine of the Koran has been particularly 
destructive to the professors of this religion, in 
every country ■\\here it has been professed. The 
prophet has told his followers, that God has num- 
bered their days, and predestinated their fate ; that 
every human event is irrevocably fixed ; and not 
only the time, but also the manner and circum- 
stances of man's death, so unalterably settled, that 
the devout Mussulman thinks it criminal to attempt 
to alter what was pre-ordained by God.* Hence 
he judges all precaution for saving life vain, if not 
impious; and beholds his parents, his children, and 
his friends, falling a sacrifice to diease and death, 
with a stupid and ineffectual concern : Nor have 
they, until of late, been prevailed on in Constanti- 
nople, and other parts of the Turkish dominions, 
to employ any remedy against the plague, which 
makes dreadful havoc in those countries. They 
indeed use medicines, yet not for the purpose of 
protracting life, but of allaying pain; and they 
consider the plague as the dart of the Almighty, 
who infallibly hits his mark ; and think it sinful to 
attempt to escape it, by changing infected for salu- 
brious air. 

The effects of Mohammedism are not less ma- 
lignant upon the moral character of man, by the 
rules and precepts it prescribes. 

The influence of a religion upon morality, is to 
be determined by the relation which the peculiar 

* See Koran, chap. xvi. 


duties it prescribes have to the general welfare of 
men ; and the motives which, of itself, it affords to 
the discharge of those grand and universal duties, 
which time and place may indeed modify in their 
degree, but without suspending tlieir obligation, 
considered in this light, the religion of Moham- 
med presents itself to us, as containing precepts 
more destructive, perhaps, to the well-being of 
mankind, than are to be found in any other in- 
stance of religious delusion. The Mussulman is 
commanded, indeed, to be just and charitable ; and 
this command every other religion, however false, 
would not fail to impose. But justice and charity 
form only a small and subordinate part of his obe- 
dience. He must abstain from the innocent en- 
joyment of the bounties of nature, with a rigour 
which lessens the comforts of social intercourse ; 
and even, in some degree, represses the noble 
emotions of friendship and affection. He must 
approach the Deity, not at the seasons of his own 
gratitude, but at prescribed hours, which often ar- 
rive without the preparation of his heart; and 
which return with such frequency, and must be 
practised with such exactness, as tend surely to 
create ostentatious hypocrisy, -or abject pusillanimi- 
ty : to slacken punctuality into indifference, or in- 
flame zeal into fanaticism.* In whatever situation 

* Their stated times of prayer are, — 1. In the morning, 
before sun-rise ; 2. When noon is past, and the sun begins 
to decline from the meridian ; 3. In the afternoon, before 
sun-set; 4. In the evening, after sun-set, and before day be 


he is placed, he must perform ablutions which 
often interfere witli the practical duties of life ; and 
of A\hich the forms and circumstances would be 
ridiculous in the recital, if, indeed, they deserved 
not a severer appellation, when considered as the 
evidences of virtue and piety. 

To fill up the measure of his devotion, the Mo- 
hammedan must leave his friends, his family and 
his country, and expose himself to the dangers of 
a tedious journey, through barren sands, and be- 
neath a burning sky, to visit the temple of Mecca, 
with ceremonies which alike corrupt the under- 
standing, and degi'ade the dignity, of a rational and 
immortal being.* 

shut in; and, 5. After the day is shut in, and before the 
ilrst watch of the night. 

At these times, of which public notice is given by the 
Muezins, or Cryers, from the steeples of their mosques, 
{•fov they do not use bells) every conscientious Moslem, 
J. e. Mussulman, prepares himself for prayer, which he 
performs in the mosque, or in any other place, provided it 
be clean, after a prescribed form ; and with a certain num- 
ber of praises, er ejaculations, and using certain postures 
of worship, as turning towards Mecca, and sometimes 
even prostrating himself so as to touch the ground with 
his forehead. 

* " The two great claims to the superior approbation of 
the prophet, and which give distinction to individuals, are 
the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the having learned to repeat 
the Koran by heart, or transcribed it with scrupulous ele- 
gance. By these performances, tlic much envied titles of 
Ifadji and /A//?- arc solely to be acquired.''—- Dallaway's 
'Conatantino/ite, p. 63. 


Such are the duties to which the followers of 
Mohammed are bound; and little must the pro- 
phet have known of the human heart, if he imagin- 
ed, that the prescription of such a ritual was ser- 
viceable to the cause of real piety ; if he believed 
that, by the introduction of burthensome ceremo- 
nies, he insured the sincerity of religion ; or if he 
ventured to hope, that any other consequence could 
arise from such precepts, than the observance of 
ihe forms of devotion without its spirit, and the 
confinement of the emotions of virtue to that pre- 
cise limit within which they were circumscribed. 

Such is the tendency which this religion has, 
from its intrinsic and distinguishing properties, to 
aifect our moral agency; and since every cause 
must be judged of by its proper eifects, enough, 
I trust, has been advanced to pro\'e, that Mohani- 
medism is naturally hurtful to the intellectual, the 
social, and the religious character of man. 

To the works already referred to on the general 
subject of Mohammedism, I beg leave to add Gro- 
tius, De Veritate Relig. Christiana, lib. 6.; and 
Dr. White's able and eloquent Sermons at the 
Bampton Lecture; wherein the doctor considers 
Christianity and Mohammedism, in their history, 
— their evidence, — and their effects, as the three 
great sources of comparison, by which their truth 
is to be determined ; and to this last work I am 
happy to acknowledge my obligations for much of 


the account of Mohammedism here presented to 
the reader. 

The authors^ or founders^ of these two systems 
of religion, are compared by another distinguished 
and eloquent divine, who sets their characters in 
such a clear point of view, as to force conviction 
on the minds of his readers ; and uses such pow^er- 
ful language, that I cannot help concluding this ar- 
ticle in his words. 

" Go to your natural religion; Lay before her 
Mohammed and his disciples arrayed in armour 
and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of 
thousands and tens of thousands, who fell by his 
victorious sword : Shew her the cities which he set 
in flames, — the countries which he ravaged and 
destroyed, — and the miserable distress of all the 
inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed 
hira in this scene, cany her into his retirements : 
Shew her the prophet's chamber, his concubines 
and wives ; let her see his adultery, and hear him 
allege revelation, and his divine commission, to 
justify his lust and his oppression. When she is 
tired with this prospect, then shew her the blessed 
Jesus ^ humble and meek, doing good to all the 
sons of men, patiently instructing both the igno- 
rant and the perverse. Let her see him in his 
most retired privacies. Let her follow him to the 
Mount, and hear his de\'otions and supplications 
to God. Carry her to his table to view his poor 


fare, and hear his heavenly discourse. Let her see 
him injured, but not provoked : Let her attend him 
to the ti'ibunal, and consider the patience with 
which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his 
enemies. Lead her to his cross, and let her view 
him in the agony of death, and hear his last prayer 
for his persecutors, — Father, forgive them, for they 
knoxv not what they do. 

" When natural religion has viewed both, ask, 
Which is the prophet of God ? But her answer we 
have already had, when she saw part of this scene 
through the eyes of the centurion who attended at 
the cross ; by him she spoke and said, Truly this 
ma7i was the Son ofGodP"^ 

* Bishop Sherlock's Sermons, Vol. I. Ser. IX. in fin. 

VOL. I. S S 





Having thus considered the four grand sys- . 
terns of religion, according to the order of time in 
which they first made their appearance in the 
world ; and Christianity being now the only true 
religion, I next proceed, in pursuance of my plan, 
to e-ive some account of its different divisions and 
subdivisic«is ; or, of the various denominations and 
sects now existing in the Christian world. 

The three grand divisions of the Christian reli- 
gion, according to the order of their first appear- 
ance, are : — 

1. The Greek and Eastern Churches. 

2. The Church of Rome : — And, 

3. The Protestant Churches. Of which in their 






Divisions and Subdivisions. — The so- 
ciety of Christians that goes under the general de- 
nomination of the Eastern church, so called in 
conti'a- distinction from the Western churjch or that 
of Rome, is dispersed throughout Europe, Asia, 
and Africa, arid may be divided into three distinct 

The first is that of the Greek Christians, who 
agree in all points of doctrine and worship with the 
patriarch* residing at Constantinople, and reject 
the pretended supremacy oLthe Roman pontiiF. 

* Patriarchs are supreme ecclesiastical dignitaries or 
bishops, and are so called from their paternal authority io 
the church. 

The title is now in use only in the Eastern churches; 
and this patriarch is considered as the head or chief of the 
Greek church and nation. 


The second comprehends those Christians who 
differ equalh' from the Roman pontijff and the Gre- 
cian patriarch, in their reHgious opinions and insti- 
tutions, and who hve under the government of their 
own bishops and rulers. 

The third is composed of those who are subject 
to tlie see of Rome. 

The society of Christians that H\'es in religious 
communion a\ idi the patriarch of Constantinople, is 
properly speaking, the Greeks though it assumes 
likewise the tide»of the Eastern Church. 

This societ}- is subdivided into txvo branches, of 
^vhich the one acknowledges tlie supreme autho- 
rity and jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantino- 
ple; while the other, though joined in communion 
of docti'ine and worship with that prelate, yet re- 
fuses to receive his legates, or to obey his edicts, 
and is governed by its own laws and institutions, 
under the jurisdiction of spiritual rulers, who are 
independent on all foreign authority. 

That part of the Greek church which ackno^v- 
ledges the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantino- 
ple, is divided, as in the early ages of Christianity, 
into four large districts or provinces — Constantino- 
ple^ Alexandria^ Antioch., and Jerusalem ; o\ev each 
of which a bishop presides, with the tide oi patriarchy 
whom the inferior bishops and monastic orders una- 


nimously respect as their common father. But the 
supreme chief of all these patriarchs, bishops, and 
abbots, and, generally speaking, of the whole 
church, is the patriarch of Constantinople. 

Adopting the plan of Dr. Mosheim, whose lan- 
guage I have just quoted, I shall now give some 

\st, Of this part of the Greek church. 

2(%, Of that other part which, though adopting 
her doctrines and ceremonies, yet is entirely free 
from the jurisdiction and authority of the patriarch 
of Constantinople, and comprehends the Russians^ 
Georgians, and Mingrelians. 

And then, of those Eastern churches that sepa- 
rate from the communion of the Greeks and La- 
tins, and differ from them both in doctrine and 
Avorship ; and to this division belong the Mono- 
physites or Jacobites, together with the Nestorians, 
or Chaldaans, the Armenians, &c. 

Of the third grand division of Eastern Chris- 
tians, viz. those who are subject to the see of 
Rome, some account will be given below, under 
tlie article Church of Rome. 






Name, Antiquity, &c. — The Greek church 
is so called, from its comprehending all Christians 
within the limits of Ancient Greece, to distinguish 
it from the Latin or Romish church, and chiefly 
from its members having long universally used the 
Greek language in its liturgies or religious services ; 
a practice which is still continued in the part of it 
now under consideration, and likewise by some 

The 0?-iental or Greek church is the most an- 
cient of all Christian churches ; for, though it may 
be granted that the Roman pontiff' had acc[uired a 
spiritual, or rather a temporal jurisdiction, before 
the patriarch of Constantinople, and perhaps before 
any other Oriental patriarch, yet it cannot be 


doubted that the first Christian church or society 
was estabhshed at Jerusalem. 

The next churches were, doubtless, those of 
Syria and Greece ; and if ever St. Peter was at 
Rome, which has not yet been fully ascertained, it 
was not till after he had been bishop of Antioch; 
so that the Lotin church is unquestionably the 
daughter of the Greeks and is indebted to her for 
all the blessings of the gospel : a truth which one 
of her own bishops acknowledged in the council of 
Trent. ^ 

" The law went out of Zion, and the word of 
the Lord from Jerusalem.^'f This city was the 
mother of all churches; J — the original emporium 
of the Christian faith ; the centre from which the 
healing rays of Christianity diverged and spread 
over the world. 

But notwithstanding the Greek church is more 
ancient than the Latin., they had both the same 

* «' Eia igitur Graecia mater nostra, cui id totum debet 
quod habet Laiina Ecclesia." — Oratio. JS/iisc. Bitont. ifi 
Cone. Trid. habita. 

t Isaiah, chap. ii. 3. 

\ This is acknowledged not only by Theodoret, but 
likewise by one hundred and fifty orthodox fathers, assem- 
bled in a council at Constantinople, Anno 381. " iM«T«/i 
a.7ra.T06)/ ix-xK^viay." — Theod. Histor. Eccl. 1. 5. c. 9. p. 211. 
Edit. Paris, 1673, speaking of Jerusalem: — " Porro Ec- 
clesiae Hierosolymitanae, quae est aliarum 07nnium mater, 
Cyrillum Episcopum vobis ostendimus." Concil. Conatany 
iinofi. de consecratione Cyrili. Teste Baronio. 


ilpostolical foundation; and for the first eight cen» 
turies they were in communion with one another, 
though all along they disagreed in some points. 
They were divided as to the time and obligation 
of keeping Easter so early as the second century, 
and considerable jealousies broke out between 
them at the council of Sardis, in Illyi-icum, in 347. 
The flame of resentment, though occasionally sti- 
fled for a time, again broke out Avith increased fur} 
in the eighth century, on the subject of images ; 
and in the ninth, under the patriai^ch P/iotius, theii" 
disputes ran so high, that they broke off" commu- 
nion with each other, and a final separation took 
place betAAeen them. Photius was elected patri- 
arch of Constantinople, in the year 858, by the em- 
peror Michael, in the place of Ignatius, whom that 
prince drove from his see, and forced into exile. 
Pope Nicholas I. took part with the exiled pa- 
triarch, condemned the election as unwarrant- 
able, and excommunicated Photius. Upon this, 
Photius, a high-spirited prelate, and the most 
learned and ingenious man of the age, assembled 
a council at Constantinople, and, in return, ex- 
communicated the Pope. Hence, and from va- 
rious other circumstances in the history of tlie 
Eastern and Western churches, we may conclude, 
that the animosities which subsisted between 
them for so many ages, and the final separation 
which thus ensued, are not to be ascribed to their 
early difference in opinion concerning the obser- 
vation of certain festivals, nor e\'en to the more 
important subjects of dispute which gave rise to 
the Arian heresy. They are rather to be referred 


to that period when Constantine removed the seat 
of empire to Byzantium ; and, by augmenting the 
dignity of the latter see, rendered it formidable to 
the authority of the Roman pontiff. In the second 
general council, the bishop of Constantinople Avas 
allowed to sit next to the successor of St. Peter ; 
and, by the twenty-eighth canon of the synod of 
Chalcedon, he was permitted to enjoy an equal 
rank. To these encroachments no small resist- 
ance was made by the head of the Latin church ; 
but the emperors of the East were strenuous to as- 
sert the privileges of the new city, and, by the pi'e- 
ponderance of their authority, confirmed all its 
pretensions. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory 
having carried his persecution of the Iconoclasts^ 
i. e. the image-breakers, too far, the emperor Leo 
III. suniamed the Isawian, from the place of his 
birth, as well to restrain his power as to punish 
his arrogance, seized his possesssions in Calabria, 
Sicily, Illyricum, and Greece, and transferred them 
to the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantinople. 
From that period some consider this unfortimate 
breach as fixed and incurable ; tor, notwithstanding 
the church of Rome was afterwards accused of va- 
rious errors and iiTegularities, by the patriarchs 
Photius, and Michael Cerularius, and both the su^ 
premacy and infallibility of the Pope Avere warmly 
resisted, these were not the principal bone of con- 
tention. Hence the two attempts made by the 
emperor Michael Palaologus^ in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, to allay the fervour of dissension, and reunite 

VOL. I. T t 


the two churches, were vain, and the union pro- 
posed by the council of Florence, in the fiftefentih 
century, was of short duration ; and, in short, every 
attempt to heal the breach has been hitherto with- 
out effect. The mutual sacrifices required have 
been unpalatable both to the Roman and the Con- 
stantinopolitan prelate, so that each remains, to 
this day, the centre of a different system ; and the 
Greeks have ever been looked upon by the Latin 
church as Schismatics.* 

In the history of the Greek Church, from this fatal 
separation in the ninth century, little further occurs, 
excepting the Crusades, or holy wars, and the vast 
accession that was made to it by the conversion of 
the Russian dominions, till about the middle of the 
fifteenth (1453), when Mahomet the II. took Con- 
stantinople, and overthrew the Grecian empire, un- 
der Constantine Palceologus, the last of the Byzan- 
tine Cfesars. With the empire of the Greeks, 
their religious establishment was overthrown ; and 
though a partial toleration was at first permitted, 
the religious despotism of their conquerors soon 
contracted it within more confined limits, and re- 
duced the Christian religion and its professors to 
the miserable state in which they now exist under 
the yoke of tlie Ottomans. The Greek church 
still subsists under the sceptre of Mohammed. 

* See Spanhennius, De fierfietua disscntione Eccles. Orient. 
et Occident. 


But how does it subsist? Like the tree (says the 
venerable Bishop Home) that had suffered exci- 
sion, in the dream of the Chaldean monarch; its 
root indeed remains in the earth, with a band of 
iron and brass, and it is wet with the dew of heaven, 
until certain times shall have passed over it; at the 
expiration of which, it may come into remembrance 
before God, and again bud, and put forth its 
branches, and bear fruit, for the shadow and sup- 
port of nations yet unknown. But at present its 
condition is not to be envied or coveted. The 
Mohanmiedan power has been raised up to be the 
Pharoah, the Nebuchadnezzar, and the Antiochus 
Epiphanes of tliese last days, to the Eastern 
churches. Let those therefore tliat now stand, 
" be watchful, and sti'engthen the things tliat re- 
main, that are ready to die,'' lest they also fall. 
The promise of divine protection, and indefecti- 
ble subsistence is not made to any particular 
church or churches, but to the church of Christ in 
general ; and as the Se\ en Churches of Asia have, 
of a long time, almost wholly disappeared, and the 
glory of the Greek church has for ages been 
WTetchedly obscured, so may any church or 
churches, however flourishing now, be one day 
equally obscured ; and, sooner or later, even wholly 
extinguished and forgotten. 

Distinguishing doctrines. — The Greek 
church agrees in most things with either the 
church of Rome or the Reformed^ i. e. the Protes- 
tant church ; wherein it differs from the one, it, for 


the most part, aj^ecs with the oilier. Many of ilic 
corniptioiis of the churcli of Rome arose l)eforc 
the final scjraration tcx^k place between it and the 
Cireek t hurc h ; and, as many of these had their 
orifrin in the Kast, they continued in I)oth churches 
after the di\ ision, so that, in the Cireek chnn h, 
n\av be found many of what we consider as errors 
in the Latin church: l)ut, though the former has 
departed widely from the failli which it once pro- 
fessed, and is now sunk into dejjlorablc iL!:;norance 
and >uj)ersliiion, it can scarce!) be achniltetl that il 
is so very corru])t as ihc latter. 

It aerces w itli die reformeil church, in disown 
ing the pretended supremacy and infallibility oi 
tile I'ojJe, and the ( linn h (il H<inie as the true 
Catholic church; and in lejectin^^ pur^^alory by lire, 
— i^nawn imaj^es, — die celibacy of the secular 
rlerp;}', — and in administerinf; the sacrament in 
l)oth kinds: but it diflcrs lioin it in the numlx*r of 
the sacraments, — in usin^ /)/rtnr( \, — in admitting 
Uic ituocation of saints, — in transubstantiatif)n,* 
and, of course, Uie adoi~alion ol the host; and, 
though it rejects purgatory, it has something that 
may be said to resemble it; and it adnuts masses 
;uid services for die dead. 

Hut as this ( hur( h has no j)ublic or established 
;irii( Ics of fiith. lik<: thosr (if the Unilfd cIiuk li 

* See their ideas of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 


of England and Ireland, &c. we can only collect 
what are its doctrines, from the councils whose 
decrees it receives, — from the different offices in 
its liturgies, — and from the catechisms which it 
authorises to be taught. 

The Holy Scriptures, and the decrees of the 
first seven general councils,* are acknowledged by 
the Greeks as the rule of their faith ; and the doc- 
trme of the Trinity, together with the articles of 
the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, are received by 
them, in common with most other Christians. In 
one particular, indeed, they differ from the other 
churches of Europe, whether Romish or reformed, 
viz. in believing that the Holy Spirit proceeds 
from the Father on/y, and not from the Father and 
the Son ; and, in defence of this opinion, they ap- 
peal to the Holy Scriptures,! — ecclesiastical histo- 
ry, — the acts of councils, — the writings of the Fa- 
thers, — ancient manuscripts, and especially to a 
copy of the Nicene or Constantinopolitan creed, 
engraven on two tables of sih er, and hung up in 
the cliurch of St. Peter at Rome, by order of Leo 
III., in the beginning of the 9th century, where, 
we are told, it still appears without the interpola- 
tion in dispute. They assert, that the bishops of 
the church of Rome, without consulting those of 
the Eastern churches, and ^vithout any regard to 
the anathema of the council of EphesiiSy have 

* For the councils, see below, 
t See St. John, xv. 26. 


added the word Filioque (and tlie Son) in the Ni- 
cene creed : Yet, to remove all suspicion of their 
entertaining any heterodox opinion in regard to the 
third person of the ever blessed Trinity, they de- 
clare, that " they acknowledge the Holy Spirit to 
be of the same substance with the Father and the 
Son ; — to be God from eternity, proceeding from 
the essence and nature of the Father, and to be 
equally adored.''* 

They have seven sacraments, or, as they term 
them, mysteries; \\hich are defined to be, " cere- 
monies or acts appointed by God, in which God 
giveth, or signifieih, to us his grace." This num- 
ber they have probably received from the Latin 
church, several of them having no foimdation in 
antiquity as sacra iTients. They are, 1. Baptism; 
2. The Chris?r?, or baptismal unction ; 3. The Jiif- 
chdrist, or sacrament of the Lord's Supper; 4. 
Co7ifcssion; 5. Ordination ; 6. Marriaife ; and, 7. 
The Euchelaion^ or Mystery of the Holij Oil^ \\ ith 

Of these. Baptism and the Eucharist are deem- 
ed the chief; both A\'hich, together with the Bap- 
tismal Unction and Confession^ are to be received 
by all Christians ; but of the other three, none, not 

* 'JMiomsoii's Travels in France, Italy, Turkey, &c. vol. 
i. p. 405. In pai;e 410, Mr. Thomson observes, that 
thc} pic tend to express their belief of a Trinity of per- 
sons in one divine essence, " by often crossing themselves 
with the thumb and tnvo Jingcrs of their right hand." 


even the Euchelaion, is considered as obligatory 
upon all. 

With respect to baptism^ I am not aware that 
they hold any peculiar opinions as to its nature; 
but they lay so great stress on its necessity to sal- 
vation, that, with the church of Rome, they admit 
of lay baptism when a priest or deacon cannot be 
had to administer it; and they never repeat it on 
any occasion whatever. They baptise by immer- 
sion, and they use the trine i?nmersion, or form of 
dipping the child thrice in water; which is no 
doubt the most ancient manner; but, previous to 
baptism, the child, though not two months old, 
must be solemnly initiated into the church, as a 
catechumen^ through the medium of its sponsors, 
when exorcism is used ; and the other rites and ce- 
remonies connected with the administration of this 
sacrament are equally singular. *^ Formerly only 
one sponsor \Aas required, and there have been re- 
gulations to prevent more ; but they are not now 
observed ; nor is the number limited in the Greek 
church. It is however not imworthy of notice, 
that a godfather is not permitted to marry his godr 

When the child is baptised, the priest proceeds 
immediately to annoint it with the holi/ chrism; for 
this, though reckoned a distinct mystery, is inse- 

* See Dr. King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek 
Church in Russia; or tl^ Sufifilernent to the Encyclop(edla-. 
Britannica, under ihe article Church. 


parable from baptism. Previous to baptism, the 
child was anointed with oil, which was likewise 
used in the consecration of the baptismal ^ater ; 
but this chrism is a very different thing from it,* 
and consists of various oils, and other precious in- 
gredients, which, in different proportion, are all 
boiled together, and afterwards solemnly conse- 
crated by a bishop. It can be prepared only by a 
bishop, and only on Maunday Thursday, i. e. 
Thursday in Passion Week ; and, as the anoint- 
ing with it is substituted in place of the apostoli- 
cal rite of the laying on of hands, called confirma- 
tion in the churches of Rome and England, and is 
occasionally used for some other purposes, gi'eat 
quantities of it are of course prepai-ed at once, and 
distributed! among the different churches of each 
diocese. This anointing the Greeks call " the 
seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost ;*' which words 
the priest repeats while he applies the chrism, or 
holy oil, to the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, 
ears, breast, hands, and feet, of the child. 

Immediately after, or some days after, as order- 
ed, the child is again brought to the church ; when 
the priest, after praying for it, unties its girdle, and 
linen clothes; and then, taking a new sponge, 

* It likewise differs from, and is much more costly tharii 
tliC c/tris»t, or ointment, which was used for confirmation 
in the ancient church, and which was made simply of oil 
olive, and the balm of Gilead. 

t In round vials, or alabaster boxes, in allusion to that 
which Mary Magdalen broke and poured on our Saviour's- 
bead. — Thomson's Travcls,\o\. i. p. ^^94 


moistened with clean water, he washes its face, 
breast, &c. saying, " Thou hast been baptised, en- 
lightened, anointed, sanctified, and washed, in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost, no\A^, and for ever, even unto ages of 
ages. Amen," 

The last ceremony appended to baptism, is that 
of the tonsure, or cutting the hair of the child's 
head in the form of the cross ; when the priest of- 
fers up for it several prayers, all alluding to the 
rite to be performed ; and then cuts its hair cross- 
wise, saying, " N. the servant of God, is shorn, in 
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the - 
Holy Ghost," &c. as abo\ e. 

For the celebration of the Lord's Supper, the 
Greeks have three liturgies that are occasionally 
used, viz. that of St. Chrysostom, which is in or- 
dinary daily use ; that of St. Basil, used upon all 
the Sundays of the great fast, or lent, except Palm 
Sunday ; upon Holy Thursday and Saturday, or 
Easter Eve ; upon the vigils of Christmas and the 
Epiphany ; and upon St. Basil's day ; — and that of 
the Pre-sanctijied, which is used on all the week 
days during die great fast, except Saturdays, Sun- 
days, and the Lady Day. The liturgies of St. 
Chrysostom and St. Basil are supposed to have 
been considerably corrupted, particularly the for- 
mer; in their present state there is no essential 
difference between them; and the office of th^ 
Pre-sanctified is merely a form of dispensing the 

VOL. I, ■ u u 


communion with elements which had been conse- 
crated on the preceeding Sunday, whence it has 
its name. 

In the offertory there is a strange ceremony, 
called " the slaying of the Holy Lamb;" which 
ma}' be seen in Dr. King's Rites and Ceremonies 
of the Greek Church in Russia, p. 137., &c. 

The Greek church, sti^ictly so called and consi- 
dered by itself, had no notion of the Romish scho- 
lastic docti"ine of trarisubstantiation.* That mon- 
strous tenet, as it has no true foimdation jn Scrip- 
ture, so was it utterly unknown to the primitive 

This, among other arguments, has been evinced 
from the frame of the ancient liturgies ; in which, 
after those words of our Lord, This is my body, — 
This is my blood, w hereby, as the church of Rome 
maintains, the substimce of the bread and wine is 
changed into the substance of his body and blood, 
— there is an express and most solemn in^•ocation ; 
praying God the Father to send down his Holy 
Spirit to sanctify the elements, and make them the 
body and blood of Christ, for pardon, grace, and 
salvation, to those who should duly receive them. 
Which prayer is quite incompatible with the be- 

• The word itself is not to be found in any of ilieir pub- 
lic writings, which are not suppositious . and it i^> suppos- 
ed thai Gabriel Sevcrtut, mctroptditan of Philadelphia, in 
ihe sixteenth lentury, who had resided a loni^ time at Ve- 
nice, was the first among them who employed that term. 


lief of transiibstantiation, but quite consentaneous 
to the doctrine of our Saviour — " It is the Spirit 
that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the 
words that I speak unto you are spirit and are 
life."* Now, the Greek church at the present 
day uses this invocation, and, in opposition to the 
Roman, lays the great stress of the consecration 
upon it. Whence it may be as clearly argued, 
that the Greek church, according to the voice of 
its liturgies, even as published by Gna7' in his Eii- 
chologion^ owns not transubstantiation, as defined 
by the Romanists. It is, however, a humiliating 
consideration, that the Greeks, in their low depres- 
sion, scarcely understood their own offices, and 
used many terms without any precise meaning. 
And therefore, when the Latins gained influence 
over them, they found them fit scholars for their 
own school ; and by every undue means, but very 
captiva' mg to poverty, tutored many of them into 
their own opinions ; thus gaining sufii'ages to make 
it be believed, that their opinion had been all along 
that of the Greek church also. But others, and 
among them the famous but lamented Patriarch Cy- 
ril Lucar, have borne plain testimony against them. 

It is true, in their Orthodox Confession (so call- 
ed), transubstantiation, in the Romish sense, is 
roundly asserted ; but this has been transfused from 
their Latin teachers, whose scholastic sophistry 
the modem Greeks were not able to unriddle. f 

* St. John, vi. 63, Sec. 

t For this account of the manner in which transubstan- 
tiation has been introduced into the Greek church, the rea- 


In this cTiurch, it is deemed essential to the va- 
lidity of ^his holy sacrament, tliat a little warm wa- 
ter be mixed with the wine ; that the napkin, which 
is spread over the holy table, and ans\vers to the 
corporale of the chui'ch of Rome, be conseci^ated 
by a bishop, and that it have some small particles 
of the rcliques of a martyr mixed in the web, other- 
wise the eucharist cannot be administered. It may 
also be observed, that leavened bread is used in 
this sacrament; that children may receive the com- 
munion immediately after baptism ; that the clergy 
receive the elements separately ; and that the lay 
communicants, of whatever age, receive both the 
elements together, the bread being sopped in the 
cup, and that they receive them standing, pro- 
vided their age, &:c. will admit of that posture.* 

Previous to receiving the communion, the rnys- 
tery of Confession is always necessary ; the church, 

der is indebted to a learned and venerable bishop of the 
episcopal church in this country, whose private virtues, and 
genuine primitive simplicity of character, are highly worthy 
of imitation ; and whose professaional knowledge, particu- 
larly in regard to ecclesiastical antiquities, would do ho- 
nour to any bishop, of any church, and in any country. 

Those who wish lor further particulars on this subject, 
may consult -/in Account of the Present Greek Church (1722), 
by the learned Dr. Covel, who wrote with a particular view 
to communicate to the world the result of his enquiries into 
this doctrine of transubstantiation in the Greek Church. 

* The laity are never permitted to enter the chancel, but 
the priest comes forward and administers the communion 
to them standing at the holy door, i. e. the middlemost door 
of the Iconostoa, which is seldom opened but when this 
holy sacrament is admitiistered- 


indeed, prescribes it to all her members foiir times 
a-year, and it is so often performed in monasteries, 
and much oftener by those who have made great 
advances in holiness ; but the laity, for the most 
part, confess only once in the year, to which, in 
Russia, they are obliged by the laws of the land ; 
and it is usual to do it in the great fast before Eas- 
ter. It is said that they do not consider confes- 
sion as a divine precept, but allow it to be only a 
positive injunction of the church; but if such be 
really the case, it does not readily appeal' how it 
agrees with the definition of a sacrament. It used, 
however, to be a much more rational and edifying 
sendee here than in the church of Rome ; for the 
ancient Greek church, as Dr. Covil observes, com- 
manded her penitents to confess their sins in se- 
cret to God alone; and bade them consult their 
priest or pastor in -VAhat was then needful to in- 
struct tliem, and *' restore them in the spirit of 
meekness ;" so that here the end of confession was 
the amendment of the penitent; whereas, in the 
church of Rome, it serves rather to magnify the 
glory of the priest. 

In the former church, the confessors pretended 
only to abate or remit the penance, declaring the 
pardon to come from God alone; in the latter, 
they take upon them to remit or forgive the sin 
itself. But, if we may credit a learned and judi- 
cious traveller (Tournefort), the practice of con- 
fession is now much abused among the Greeks. 
And another learned author calls it " one of the 


fundamental pillars of the Eastern churches ; the 
axis upon which their whole ecclesiastical polity 
turns; and that, without which, the clergy would 
no longer have any authority or influence over the 
consciences of the people," &c.* 

The next in order of their mysteries^ or sacra- 
ments, is ordination., and in this church they have 
the same division of the clergy into regular and 
secular, as in that of Rome ; and there are five or- 
ders of them promoted by imposition of the bi- 
shop's hands, with prayer, viz. Readers.,\ Siib- 
deacons. Deacons., Presbyters., and Bishops. — The 
forms used in the ordination of deacons, priests, 
and bishops, are serious and significant, bearing 
in themselves evident marks of great antiquity; 
but it does not appear that that of the reader or 
subdeacon is considered by them as a sacrament, 
or that ordination in general was so considered in 
the primitive church. At the consecration of a 
bishop, several bishops lay on their hands, to- 
gether with the archbishop ; but it does not appear 
from Dr. King, who gives these offices at full 
length, that in this church the attending presbyters 
lay on their hands, together with the bishop, at the 
ordination of a presbyter, as is the practice in the 
chm^ch of England. 

* Ricaut's Preface to the State of the Greek Churchy 
p. 12. 

t- This office includes singers, acolotliysts, &c. 


Great care used to be taken that the candidate 
for holy orders have no lameness, or other defect, 
either of body or limbs: but the ancient disci ;>!ine 
of the Greek church, with respect to ordination is, 
said to be now much neglected; the canons being 
seldom consulted about the requisite age and cha- 
racter of the candidate, or the interval that s!iou!d 
take place between the several orders; so that it 
frequently happens that they are all conferred in 
the space of three or four days. Yet, in those 
who are candidates for the Mitre, celibacy, and the 
assumption of Monastic habits, are still indispen- 
sably requisite : and hence, few or no bishops are 
elected from among the secular clergy, but almost 
every bishop elect is an Archimandrite^ or Hiero- 
monachus^ i. e. an abbot or chief monk in some 

This church, as well as that of Rome, seems to 
admit matrimony into the number of sacraments, on 
the groimd of an expression of St. Paul corcerning 
maiTiage, where, speaking of the union of man 
and wife as being a stronger tie than that of pa- 
rents and children, he adds, " this is a great mys- 
tery^ but I speak concerning Christ and the 
church.''* But surely the apostle's language 
would have been different and more explicit, had 
he meant that a Christian sacrament should be 
built on this text. Besides, the term mystery is 
of much greater latitude than sacrament ; every 
sacrament is a mystery, but every mystery is not a 

* Ephes. V. 32. 


The ceremonies with which matrimony is per- 
formed in the Greek church, consist of three dis- 
tinct offices, formerly celebrated at different times, 
after certain intervals, which now make but one 
sendee. Firsts there was a solemn service when the 
parties betrothed themselves to each other, by 
giving and receiving rings, or other presents, as 
pledges of their mutual fidelity and attachment. 
At this time the dowry was paid, and certain obli- 
gations were entered into to forfeit sums in propor- 
tion to it, if either of the parties should refuse to 
ratify the engagement. At this ceremony, called 
the espousals or betrothing^ the priest gives light- 
ed tapers to the parties to be contracted, making 
the sign of the cross on the forehead of each, with 
the end of the taper, before he delivers it. 

The second ceremony, which is properly the 
marriage, is called the office of matrimonial coro- 
nation^ from a singular circumstance in it, that of 
cronvning the parties. This is done in token of 
the triumph of continence ; and therefore it has, in 
some places, been omitted at second marriages. 
Formerly these crowns were garlands made of 
flowers or shrubs; but now there are generally 
kept in most churches crowns of silver, or some 
other metal, for the celebration of matrimony. At 
the putting of them on, the priest says, " M. the 
servant of God, is crowned for the hand-maid of 
God, N. ;" and " N. the hand-maid of God, is 
crowned for the servant of God, M. in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 


Ghost; adding thrice, " O Lord our God, crown 
them with glory and honour/' 

The third ceremony is that of dissolving the 
crowns on the eighth day ; after which the bride is 
conducted to the bridegroom's house, immediately 
to enter on the cares of his family. 

The Greeks haA^e no good opinion of second 
marriages, and a much worse of those who engage 
in holy matrimony a third time ; and the fourth 
mamage is condemned as absolutely sinful. It is 
required that the man be aboA e fourteen years of 
age, and the \Aoman above thirteen, before they 
enter into the state of matrimony ; and the consent 
of parents or guardians is deemed so necessary, 
that the v.ant of it destroys the validity of the mar- 
riage. The solemnisation of marriage during the 
fasts is prohibited, and divorces are not frequent, 
nor easy to be obtained. 

The last sacrament of the Greek church is that 
of the holy oil, or euchelaion, which is not confined 
to persons at the point of death, or dangerously ill, 
like the extreme unction of the church of Rome, 
but is administered, if required, to devout persons, 
upon the slightest malady. This ceremony, or 
mystenj, as they are pleased to call it, is chiefly 
founded upon the advice of St. James, ch. v. ver. 
14. 15. but is not deemed necessary to salvation ; 
and it is well that it is not, for seven priests are re- 



quired to administer it regularly, and it cannot be 
administered at all by fewer than three. 

This oil may be consecrated by a priest; and 
when consec. ited, each priest, in his turn, takes 
a twig, and dipping it in the oil, now made holy, 
anoints the sick person crossways,'on tlie forehead, 
on the nostrils, on the paps, the mouth, the breast, 
and both sides of the hands, praying that he may 
be delivered from the bodily infirmity under which 
he labours, and raised up by the grace of Jesus 

This service the Latins, who are desirous to 
make all the ceremonies of the Greek church coin- 
cide with their own, consider the same as, or equi- 
valent to, extreme unction : but though the Greek 
church reckons it in the number of her mysteries or 
sacraments, it differs from the Roman sacrament in 
its not being confined to persons periculose (egrotaji- 
tibiiSy et mortis per'iculo immmente^ and in its adlier- 
ing more closely to the text on which it is founded, 
by requiring.more priests than one to administer it. 

The invocation of saints is practised in the Greek 
as well as in tlie Roman church. They pay a se- 

* " Lorsqu' il oint le malade avec de I'liuile, il addresse 
ses prieres a Dico pour le relablissement de sa sanl6, etia 
remission de ses peclies." 

La Doctrine Orthodoxe^ Sec. ou La Thcologie Chrctiennc 
jibreffee, U.c. Par le tres Rev. Pere Platan (now metropo- 
litan of Moscow) p. 147. 


condary adoration to the Vix^in Mary, to the 
twelve apostles, and to a vast irimber of saints 
with which the Greek kalender abounds ; but they 
deny that they adore them as believing "^hem to be 
gods. The primary object of all religious v^orship 
is undoubtedly the Supreme Being ; and the ho- 
mage paid to those saints is only a respect, as thej 
define it, due to those who are cleansed from ori* 
ginal sin, and admitted to minister to the Deity, 
" thinking it more modest, and more available, to 
apply to them to intercede with God, than to ad- 
dress themselves immediately to the Almighty." 
Thus, as to the object^ they assert that they are 
clearly distinguished from idolaters, notwithstand- 
ing their offering prayers, and burning incense to 
their saints. 

But however plausible this reasoning may at 
first sight appear, it certainly implies the ascrip- 
tion of the divine and incommunicable attribute of 
ubiquity to the saints, and it will be difficult to re- 
concile it with that text of St. Paul, " There is one 
God, and one Mediator bet^veen God and men, 
the man Christ Jesus."* 

Though the members of this church abhor the 
use of carved or graven images, and charge the 
Latins with idolatry on that accovint, they, notwith- 
standing, admit into their houses and churches the 
pictures of our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and a 
whole multitude of saints, to instruct, they say, the 

* 1 Tim. ii. r. 


ia^orant, and to a'-miate the de\'otions of others. 
These pictures are usually suspended on the par- 
tition or scre^^n that separates tlie chancel from 
the l)odv <^ the church, which, from thence, re- 
ceives *^e name of Iconostos; and they honour 
them l^y bow in e;, kissins^ them, and offerin<^ up 
tJieir devotions before them: they likewise some- 
times perfume tliem w ith incense. 

Upon some of their great festi\als they expose 
to \\q\v on a table, in the middle of the choir, tlie 
picture of the saint ^vhom they commemorate, 
bowing as diey approach, and kissing it wiUi the 
gi'eatest reverence : and M. Tournefort observes, 
that their devotion to their saints, and particularly 
to the Blessed Virgin, comes but little short of 
idolatry. Yet they are far from thinking that they 
are thus guilty of any breach of the second com- 
mandment, which, according to them, prohibits 
only the makuig of ffraven images, and the wor- 
shipping of such idols as the Gentiles believed to be 
gods; whereas tlieir jVictures, being used merely as 
remembrancers of Christ and the saints, have writ- 
ten on each of them the name of the saint whom it 
is meant to represent. But, in their arguments in 
defence of this preference of painting to sculpture, 
there appears to be little solidity. They, however, 
consider themselves as secure, under the authority 
of .SV. Jolin Daiiniscmuf!^ Alrrp/ioriis, &;c. 

This church, at the celebration of the Lord's 
sup])er, commemorates the faithful departed, and 
even pra}s for tlie remission of dieir sins ; at the 


^me time, she rejects purgatory, and pretends not 
to determine dogmatically concerning the state or 
condition of departed souls. She must, however, 
believe in a middle or intermediate state between 
death and the general resurrection, and that no final 
judgment is passed upon the great body of man- 
kind, till the consummation of all things, otherwise 
such prayers could not be offered without absur- 
dity ; and in this belief she is countenanced by 
most of the primitive fathers of the church, if not 
by several passages of scripture. This comme- 
moration of, and these prayers for, tlieir deceased 
friends, seem to have been established, partly out 
of respect to the dead, and for their benefit, and 
partly to impress on the minds of the li^ ing a 
sense of their mortality. It is upon the same prin- 
ciple that a regard is paid to the reliques of saints 
and martyrs, of which, it must be owned, too su- 
perstitious a use is made in this church, as well as 
in that of Rome. 

Works of supererogation, with their consequent 
indulgences and dispensations, which were once 
so profitable, and afterwards so fatal, to the inter- 
ests of this last church, are utterly disallowed in 
that now under consideration ; nor does she lay 
claim, with her daughter of Rome, to the charac- 
ter of infallibUity. Yet, on this head, she seems to 
be, like some other churches, not a little inconsist- 
ent; for, while she wisely disowns an absolute 
freedom firom error, her clergy seem to consider 
their own particular mode of worship as that which 
is alone acceptable to God, and their OAvn churcli 


that u hich alone is entitled to the character of true 
and orth(Hl(Ki\ whereby tliey assume in efVect, an hat 
they den} in terms.* 

Predestination is a cJo,u;ma of this church ; but if 
viewed in the same Ii,u:lit i)y her members in gene- 
ral, as amonjj^t the people of Russia, where Dr. 
Kini^ tells us it is a veiy prevailing opinion, viz. 
'* as depeiidinii; on the attribute of prescience in 
the divine nature ;"t few, I jiresume, of the most 
auti-calviuistiral in this, or any countrj, will find 
much difficulty in subscribing to tlieir doctrine on 
this most intricate subject. 

They consider the Septua^itit as the audientic 
Acrsion of die Old Testament; — acknowledi]^ the 
cij^hty-five apostolical rations as of pjreat auUiority; 
— receive nine /^rormr/V// councils; and allow near- 
ly the same audioritv that is due to the sacred 
Scriptures, to die canons of the lirst se\ en oecu- 
menical or if en era I ones : which arc these : 

1. The council of .Vice, held in die year 325, un- 
der Constantine, ai^ainst .7n//,y, who denied the 
di\ inity of the Son, except in an inferior sense. 

2. 'J'he first council of Constantinople^ held \. D. 
381, under Thcodosius the (ireat, against Ma- 

• " Les opinions crronccs dc (|ucl(|ucs ifjnorans, s'il y 
en u, nc pcuvcnt pas souillcr la vcrilc dc toutc I'cglisc ; 
d'ou il paroit, que notre cglise orthodoxc non sculcmcnt 
cat veritable, mais ifuelle cut arulc^ et la nu'inc dru If com- 
mencemcut vitmc du mondr,'' Sec. Father Plato's Doctrine 
Orthodoxc^ p. 1 27. 

t I'agc 16. 


cedonitis, who denied the divinity of the Holy 

3. The council of Ephesiis, A. D. 431, in the 
reign of Theodosius Minor, against NestoriuSy 
who maintained the same opinion as Arius, and 
asserted, besides, that our blessed Lord had two 
persons, as well as two natures. 

4. The council of Chalcedon, A. D, 451, in die 
reign of Marcian, against Eutyches, who denied 
the humanity of Christ, and asserted that there 
was only one nature in him, the opposite ex- 
treme to the Nestorians. 

5. The second council of Constantinople , A. D. 
553, in the reign of Justinian, in which the three 
chapters^ and certain doctrines of Origen, &c. 
were condemned.* 

6. The third council of Constantinople, in Trullo,t 
A. D. 680, under Constantine Pogonatus, against 
SergiiiSy pope Honorius, Macarius, bishop of 
Antioch, and others, who held that Christ had 
but one nature and one will, and were thence 
called Monothelites. 

7. The second council of Xice, A. D. 787, in the 
reign of Constantine and his mother Irene, against 
the Iconomachi, ^vho condemned the use of pic- 
tures and images ; and it is on the authority ol' 
this council that the Greeks defend the use of 
their pictures in their churches and worship. 

* See Mosheim's Ecd. Hist. cent. 6. part. 2. chap. 3. 
together with Dr. M'Luiiie's notes. 

t Held in a chapel of the Imperial Palace — Iti TruUo^ 
which signifies a vault raised in the form of a dome, which 

the Italians call a aipfiola. 


The Greeks observe a great number of holy 
days, and days of abstinence ; and keep four fasts 
in the yeai* more solemn than the rest, of which 
that of Lent is the chief. It is even said that there 
is not a day in the year, which, in their church, is 
not either a fast or a festival ; and that the several 
books containing the church-service for all the 
V days in the year, amount to more than twenty vo- 
lumes folio, besides one large volume called the 
Regulation^ which contains the dii'ections how the 
rest are to be used. 

They have tiventy-two fixed and immoveable 
feasts, besides those of the church of England. 
Their other festivals are moveable, and depend 
upon Easter, in assigning which, they make use of 
the old paschal or lunar cycle, as established by the 
first general council of Nice. 

Sermons being rarely preached among them, in 
many places never, or but seldom, except in Lent, 
and catechising being much neglected, what know- 
ledge they still haAe of Christianity is thought 
to be chiefly owing to their strict observation 
of the festivals and fasts; "by which," says Sir P. 
Ricaut, " the people are taught as in a visible ca- 
techism the history of Christianit)^''* By these 

* The Present State of the Greek and Armenian Churches, 

p. 16. Anno, 1678. Dr. Smith also has a very affecting 

remark on this subject, in h'x^Jccount of the Greek Church. 

y- '* Next to the miraculous and gracious providence of 

'^\ God, I ascribe the preservation of Christianity among 

them," says he, "to the strict and religious observation of 


religious solemnities, the memory of our Saviour's 
birth, death, resurrection, and ascension ; the doc- 
trine of the ever-blessed Trinity, and other funda- 
mental articles of our faith, are kept alive in their 
minds ; and, while they commemorate the suffer- 
ings of the apostles and other saints, they are ani- 
mated by such glorious examples, to undergo the 
trials and hardships to which they themselves are 
daily exposed, and to endure patiently the Moham- 
medan yoke. 

They begin their ecclesiastical year on the 1st 
of September; and in their account of the Crea- 
tion, they differ widely from the Western Chris- 
tians, reckoning about 5500 years from the begin- -j'f- 
ning of the world to the birth of our Saviour ; but 
from this last sera they agree with us in their com- 
putation of time. 

They use the cross to drive away evil spfritSy 
Sec, and many of them abstain from things stran- 
gled, from blood, and from such other meats as 
are forbidden in the Old Testament. But it is not 
to be imagined, that all the various superstitions of 
the vulgar, or the particular opinions of every \vri» 

the festivals and fasts of the church ; this being the happy 
and blessed effect of those ancient and pious institutions, 
the total neglect of which would soon introduce ignorance, 
and a sensible decay of piety and religion in other 
countries besides those of the Levant," 8cc. 8cc. See the 
whole passage in pp. 18, 19. A passage well worthy the 
attention of many professing Christians among ourselves. 
VOL. I. Y J 


ter on the subject of religion, are, in any country, 
to be considered as the received dogmas of the 
church ; yet this distinction has not, in all cases, 
been duly attended to, and particularly in re.2;ard 
to this church, respecting which, in its present 
state of ignorance and depression, more full and 
correct information is still a desideratum in the 
history of religion. 

Dr. Mosheim refers us, for the doctrine of the 
Greek church, to a treatise, entitled. The OrtJio- 
dox Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic East- 
ern Churchy which was dra^vn up by Peter Mogis- 
laus, metropolitan of Kioffor Kiow^ in the Ukraine, 
in a provincial council assembled in that city, and 
originally meant merely for the use of his own 
diocese. This confession, originally composed in 
the Russian language, was afterwards translated 
into Greek, revised, approved, and confirmed, in 
1643, by Partheniiis of Constantinople, and the 
other three Grecian patriarchs ; who decreed, *' that 
it faithfully followed the doctrine of the church of 
Christ, and agreed entirely with the holy canons."* 

It has, since then, passed through various edi- 
tions; and one in Greek, Latin, and German, was 
published at Breslaw by Dr. C. Gottlob Hoffnian 
in 1751, with an historical account of it.f 

An ample account both of this and the other 

* Dr. King, p. 18. 

t See the article Russian Greek Churchy below. 


confessions received among the Greeks, may be 
seen in pp. 45, and 53, of the Bihliotheca Theolo- 
gice Symbol, of the learned Jo. Christ. Kocherus^ 
and an ample and exact list of the writers whom it 
is proper to consult, in order to the forming of a 
just notion of their state, circumstances, and doc- 
trines, is given in the Bihliotheca Gr^ca of the 
learned Fabiiciits^ p. 441. 

Wo RSHip, Rites, andCere MONIES . — Much 
of what should belong to this head is already anti- 
cipated, and yet much still remains to be said; 
for the public service of the Greek church is so 
long and so complicated, that it is very difficult to 
give a clear account of it, and still more difficult to 
give a short one. The greatest part of it varies 
every day in the year, and every part of the day, 
except in the communion-office, where the larger 
part is fixed, and where, as already observed, 
three liturgies or offices are occasionally in use.* 

The service of every day, whether it has a "\^igil 
or not, begins in the evening of what we would 
call the preceding day, as among the Jews ; and, 
for the same reason, viz. because it is said in the 
Mosaic account of the creation, that " the evening 
and the morning were the first day." — The several 
services for each day, according to the original or 

* See above, p, 305, The word Liturgy in this church 
constantly signifies the communion nervice, or office of the 
eucharist only, which was its ancient meaning in English. 
King Edward's liturgy contained only that office. 


monkish institution, are, Isf, The Vespers^ which 
used to be celebrated a httle before sunset ; 2f/, 
The After-Vespers, answering to the Completorium 
of the Latin church, which used to be celebrated 
after the monks had supped, and before they went 
to bed ; 3 J, the Mcsonyction, or midnight service ; 
Ath, The MatinSy at break of day, answ'ering to the 
laudes of the Romish church; 5M, The First hour 
of prayer, or prima , at sunrise ; 6M, The Third 
hour^ or tertia^ at the third hour of the day; 7M, 
The Sixth hour, or sexta, at noon; and Qth. The 
Ninth hour, or 7iona, in the afternoon, at the ninth 
hour of the day. 

These are called the canonical hours ; but it AA-as 
not till a late period that the after-vespers were add- 
ed, before which, the reason assigned for the number 
of services being seven, was because David saith, 
" Seven times a-day will I praise thee." The 
greatest part of the service of this church consists 
in psalms and hymns, which should all regularly, 
according to the primary institution, be sung; and 
when that was done, these daily services could not 
possibly have been performed in less than twelve 
or fourteen hours. 

But the service as it now stands, and was at first 
drawn up in writing, is calculated for the use of 
monasteries ; and when it was afterwards applied 
to parochial churches, many of the above offices or 
forms, which had been originally composed for 
different hours of the day and night, were used as 
one service, without any alterations being made. 


to avoid repetitions ;* and it is now become the 
practice to read the greatest part of them, especially 
in parish churches ; yet still they are read in a sort 
of recitative, and hence the expression in the Ru- 
bric, '* The liturgy of St. Chrysostom is sung/^ or 
other offices ara swig. 

In all the services, except in the communion, 
prayers and praises are offered to some saint, and 
to the Virgin Mary, almost as often as to God ; 
and in some of the services, after every short 
prayer uttered by the deacon or the priest, the 
choir chaunts, " Lord have mercy upon us," 
thirty, forty, or e\QnJifty times, successively. 

Though the number of services is the same 
every day, the services themselves are constantly 
varying in some particular or other, as there is not 
a day which, in this church, is not either a fast or a 
festival. She seems to have shewn no less atten- 
tion than the Romish church to preserve the me- 
mory of the saints and martyrs, as appears from 
her Mencson and Menologia. So great is the num- 
ber of her saints, that every day in the year has 
some saint, and frequently one day has several. 
The Menaon is a book which contains the hymns 
and particular services for the saints, and for the 
festivals as they occur in the kalender throughout 
the year. It is (divided into twelve volumes in 

* Thus, likewise, in the service of our own church, the 
jnatins, the litany^ and the co?nmunionf which Were former- 
ly three distinct services, read at different times of the 
day, are npw run into one service. 


folio ; one volume for each month, whence it has 
its name. All the saints, whose festi\ als occur in 
each month, have their proper days assigned them 
in the volume for that month ; — the rubric of the 
divine office to be performed on that day is men- 
tioned ; the particulars of the office follow ; an ac- 
count of the life and actions of the saint is inserted, 
and sometimes an engraving of him is added. 
Whence it appears that the Menaon of the Greeks 
is nearly the same as a work would be which 
should unite in itself the Missal and Breviary of 
the Roman Catholic church. The Meiiologium 
answers to the Latin Martyrology.^ There are 
several Menologia^ as at different times great alte- 
rations have been made in them ; but the ground- 
M^ork of them all is the same, so that they are nei- 
ther wholly alike, nor wholly different, f 

The lives of the saints occupy four A'olumes fo- 
lio ; these are seldom read in parish churches, un- 
less on saints days, but in monasteries they are 
usually read at the jnatins or morning service. 

But, besides those saints whose festi\'als are 
marked in the kalender, there are other saints and 

* " Menologium, in quo nomina sanctorum, et vitsc brevi- 
ter recensentur, fusius tamen quam in Romano Martyrolo- 
gio." Dr. Bray's Bibl. Paroch. p. 381. 

t From these works it evidently appears tliat the Greek 
Church invokes the saints, and implores their intercession 
with God. " Haud obscure ostendit," says Walchius, 
" Graecos eo cuitu prosequi homines in sanctorum ordi- 
nem ascriptos, ut illos invocent." Bibl. Theol, vel. Hi. p. 668. 


festivals, to which some portion of the service for 
every day of the week is appropriated. Thus, 
Sunday is dedicated to the Resurrection ; Monday 
to the Angels; Tuesday to St. John Baptist; 
Wednesday to the Virgin Mary and the Cross; 
Thursday to the Apostles; Frid.ay to the Passion 
of Christ; and Saturday to the Saints and Mar- 
tyrs. For these days there are particular hymns 
and services, in two volumes folio, entitled Octoe- 
chos^ to which, and the Mcnceon^ the common ser- 
vice^ a book which contains services common to 
all saints, martyrs, bishops, &c. may be consider- 
ed as a supplement. 

The Psalter and the Hours, i. e. the services of 
the canonical hours, fill another volume. The 
book of Psalms is divided into twenty portions, 
called Cathisms or sessions ;* one of which is read 
at; a service, and each cathism is divided into three 
parts, called o-T«<rMf, the stations,^ at which the 
Gloria Patri is said, and Allelujah three times, 
with three reverences. 

The four Gospels make another volume by them- 

* See the number of psalms contained in each Cathis7n 
in Dr. Smith's Account of the Greek Church, 12mo. 1680, 
p. 303. 

t If these words imply that it was customary to sit while 
the cathisms were said, and to stand up when the doxology 
was sung, the practice is now different, as the congrega- 
tion never sit in church. Indeed, in most churches, few or 
no seats are to be seen, for they " generally perform their 
devotions standing, and when they are weary, support them- 
selves with crutches." Thomson's Travels, vol. i. p. 391. 
See also Grelot's yoyage to Constantinople'^ p. 163. 


selves; and whenever the gospel is read in any 
service, the deacon exclaims, " Wisdom, stand 
up. Let us hear the holy gospel." The choir,^ 
at the beginning and end of the gospel, always 
says, " Glory be to thee, O Lord! glory be to 
thee;" an ejaculation which was enjoined to be 
used before the gospel in King Edward's first 
common prayer-book. 

From the Old Testament and the Epistles, ex- 
tracts only are used in the service; and these, 
made from different books applicable to the day, 
are collected together in the Menaeon or Octoe- 
chos, and in reading them, at every change, the 
deacons call out, attend. 

The Ritual, or Book of Offices, contains the rites 
of Baptism, Marriajfe, the Burial Service, &.c. 
And the Book of Prayer, or the Service, as it is 
called, contains the ordinary daily prayers and 
Ectinias* for the priest and deacon, in the vespers, 
matins, and communion offices, unless the ser- 
vice be changed, as it very frequently is, on ac- 
count of the nature of the holiday. 

All these different services are mixed together, 
and adjusted by the directions contained in the 
book of Regulation; and it is the difficulty of this 
adjustment which makes the public worship of this 
church so ^ ery intricate, that, as was said of the 

* Ectinia (Ektshi) is the same as litany with us ; and in 
every service there are several ectinias, commonly distin 
guishcd by their beginnings 


service of the church of England before the Refor- 
mation, " many times there was more business to it 
find out A\ hat should be read, than to read it when ' ' i 
found out."* 

" It is \\d\ known" says Mr. Thomson, " that 
tliey" (?'. e. the Greeks) " still continue to perform 
their devotions with their faces towards the east, in 
which they are scrupulous even to superstition. 
They seldom pull off their caps in the church, ex- 
cept when the gospel is read, — when the elements 
are carried in procession before their consecration, 
or durintr the celebration of the eucharist; but 
at these times they all stand uncovered with ex- 
traordinary reverence and attention. They have 
no insti'umental music in their churches, and their 
vocal is mean and artless ; but now and then the 
epistle and gospel are pretty well sung by the dea- 

In regard to the ceremonies of this church, they 
are numerous and burdensome, so much so in- 
deed, that besides the several books containing the 
church service as above, Dr. King tells us, that 
" they have a gi'eat number of ceremonies conti- 
nued upon the authority of oral tradition only."| 

* Preface to the Book of Common Prayer. — See Leonis 
Alhitii (le Libi'is Ecclesiastic is Grtecorwn Dissertationes dux, 
4(0. Far. 1645. 

t Travels, \. 1 . p. 410. — Mr, T. likewise observes (p. 
39!.) that the women "are always apart from the men in -\ 
their religious assemblies." 

\ Page 42. 
VOL. I. z z 


And hence Dr. IMosheim ventures to say, that 
" their rehgion is a motley collection of ceremo- 
nies, the greatest part of which are either ridicu- 
lously trifling, or shockingly absurd. Yet," adds 
he, " they are much more zealous in retaining and 
observing these senseless rites, than in maintaining 
the doctrine, or obeying the precepts of the religion 
they profess."'^ The ceremonies connected with 
the seven mysteries or sacraments have already 
been noticed, under the head o^ doctrines; and for 
an account of that of the Benediction of the waters, 
on the morning of the Epiphany, the reader is re- 
ferred to the article Russian Greek Churchy below. 

In the Greek, as well as in the Latin churchy 
there is a ceremony called the Divine and Holy 
Lavipedium, observed on Holy Thursday, i. e. 
the Thursday of Passion Week, in imitation of our 
Saviour's humility and condescension in washing 
his apostle's feet. 

At Constantinople, Jesus Christ is, on this occa- 
sion, personified by the patriarch, and e\'ery where 
else by the bishop of the diocese, or the principal 
of the monastery, and the twehe apostles by twelve 
priests or monks, when a ludricrous contest arises 
who shall represent Judas, for the name attaches 
for life.f The office for this ceremony is allowed 

* Eccles, Hist. V. 4. p. 254. Edit. 1806. 

t Tliis mark of our Lord's humility is likewise comme- 
morated on this day by most Christian kings, who wash the 
feet of a certain number of poor persons, in a very ac- 
ceptal)le w.(y, not with their own royal hands, but by the 
hands of their Lord Almoner, or some other deputy. 


to be ancient, and, if decently performed, must be 
affecting. It may be seen in Dr. King's " Rites 
and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia,^^ 
where he has given the principal offices and ser- 
vices of the Greek church at full length. 

The reader, whose curiosity is interested in a 
more minute research into the rites and ceremonies 
of this church, may likewise consult Dr. Covel, or 
any of the liturgical authors mentioned by Fabri- 
cius in his Bibliotheca Grceca. 

As almost all succeeding writers have drawn 
most of their information on this subject from 
Goar\s Euchologion^'^ Dr. King, in his preface, re- 
marks, that he " sometimes deviates from exact- 
ness, by endeavouring to make all the Oriental 
ceremonies square with those of the Western 
church, he having been one of the missionaries 
sent by the society de propaganda Jide into the 
East; one great object of which institution, was to 
reconcile the Greek church with the Latin ; and no 
way was so likely to prevail, as to persuade the 
former that they had altogether the same ceremo- 
nies as the latter, only under different names." 

It must notwitlistanding be acknowledged, that 

* Muchologion., sive Rituale Gnecorum^ Grcec. et Lat, 
Ofierd Jac. Gear ; fol. Parisiis, 1647. See also Dr. Cave's 
Dissertatio de libris et officiis Ecclesiasticis Grcscoruinad cal- 
ce?n Hist. Liter. Part 2. ; where this work of Goar is spoken 
of in high terms, and seemingly without the caution given 
us by Dr. King; a caution which perhaps should be extend- 
ed to the work of Leo Allatiusy referred to above, p. 328. 


a great similar-U^ subsists between the burden- 
some ceremonies of this and the Rcjmish church ; 
a natural consequence of their union for nearly 
nine hundi-ed years : whence every Protestant may 
learn to set a due value on that reformation aa hich 
is established in his own. 

Church-Government, Discipline, Reve- 
nues, he. — This church bears a sti-iking resem- 
blance to that of Rome, with regard likew ise to its 
government and discipline. Both are episcopal, 
and in both there is the same division of the clergy 
into secular and regular; the same spiritual juris- 
diction of bishops and their officials ; and the same 
distinction of offices and ranks. 

The supreme head of the Greek church is the 
Patriarch of Constantinople, whom they style the 
13th Apostle ; and whose usual title, w hen he sub- 
scribes any letter or missi\ e, is, " fji/ t/ie inei'cy of 
God, Archbishop of Constantinople^ the Nexv Romt\ 
and Oecumenical PatriarchJ'^ The right of elect- 
ing him is vested in the tweh e bishops who reside 
nearest that famous capital;* but the right of con- 
firming the election, and of enabling the new 
chosen patriarch to exercise his spiritual functions, 
belongs only to the Turkish emperor. 

The office is \ery uncertain, for it is often ob- 

• The right of consccraiinjj him is claimed by the Arch- 
bishop of Ilcraclea ; and this honour is i^ranied to his see, 
from its havini; been the metropolis of the Thracian dio- 
cese, before Constantinople became the cliief seat of the 


tained, not by merit, but b}' bribery and corrup- 
tion ; and when a higher bidder appears, the pos- 
sessor is often disiihced.* It is notvvithstandinp- 
both honourable and lucrative, and of high trust 
and influence ; for, besides the power of nominat- 
ing the other three patriarchs of Alexandria, Anti- 
och^ and Jerusalem^\ and all episcopal dignitaries, 
the Constantinopolitan Patriarch enjoys a most ex- 
tensive jurisdiction and dominion, comprehending 
the churches of a considerable part of Greece, the 
Grecian Isles, Walachia, Moldavia, and several of 
the European and Asiatic provinces that are sub- 
ject to Turkey. t He not only calls councils by 
his own authorit}% to decide controversies, and di- 
rect the affairs of the chiirch ; but, with the per- 
mission of the emperor, he administers justice, and 
takes cognisance of civil causes among the mem- 
bers of his own communion.^ For the admini- 

* " In the space of two years that I stayed at Constanti- 
nople," says M. Gielot, " two different patriarchs gave for 
the patiiarchship, the one 50,000, the other 60,000 crowns, 
as a present to the Grand Signior." — Voyage to Constanti- 
nofile, p. 138; see also pp. 139, 140.' 

t Yet these dignities are still elective, but he nominates 
and approves the election when made. 

X Sir P. Ricaut tells us, p. 82., " that he has no power 
over the dioceses of the other patriarchs, who are supreme 
and independent in their respective jurisdictions." "Every 
one" (of the four patriarchs) " is supreme within his own 
jurisdiction, and if they all meet together in one place, 
they mutually kiss one another's hands." Father Simon's 
Crit. Hist. p. 16. from Metrop. Crilopulus in Ejiit. Doctr. 
JEccl. Orient. 

§ Sir. P. Ricaut, p. 18.; and Mosheim's Ecclesiastical 
History^ vol. iv. p. 248. edit. 1806. 


stration of ecclesiastical affairs, a synod, convened 
month!}', is composed of" the heads of the church 
resident in Constantinople. 

In this assembly he presides with the patriarchs 
of Antloch and Jerusalem^ and twelve archbishops. 
Seniority ought to take the lead in these councils, 
but is often overborne by superior talents, or habits 
of intrigue ; and a majority is commanded by that 
prelate, whose influence promises most to those 
who support him.* 

The Patriarch of Alexandria resides generally 
at Cairo, and exercises his spiritual authority in 
Egypt, Nubia, Lybia, and part of Arabia. Da- 
mascus is the principal residence of the Patriarch 
of Antioch^\ whose jurisdiction extends to Meso- 
potamia, Syria, Cilicia, and other provinces ; while 
the Patriarch of Jerusalem comprehends within the 
bounds of his pontificate, Palestine, part of Arabia, 
the country beyond Jordan, Cana in Galilee, and 
mount Sion. The episcopal dominions of these 
three patriarchs are extremely poor and inconside- 
rable; " for the Monophysites have long since as- 

* The synodal bishops, in 1797, Mr. Dallaway tells us, 
were those — of Ca.'saria, in Cappudocia ; Ephesus, in Ionia; 
Heraclea, in Thrace ; Cyzicus, and Nicomedia, in iJithy- 
nia ; Nicxa, Chalcedonc, Dcrcon, Thessalonica, Turnebo, 
and Adrianople,in Thrace; and Amasia, in Pontus. 

\ i. c. When he is not at Constantinople ; for so slender and 
uncertain are the revenues of the patriarchs of Jerusalem 
and Antioch, that they are obliged to reside at C'onstanti- 
nople, and to depend, in u great measure, on the bounty of 
iheir superior, \v!io, of course, commands their suffrages. 


Slimed the patriarchal seats of Alexandria and Anti- 
och, and have deprived the Greek churches of the 
greatest part of their members in all those places 
where they gained an ascendant. And as Jerusa- 
lem is the resort of Christians of every sect, who 
have their respective bishops and rulers, that juris- 
diction of the Grecian patriarchs is consequently 
confined there within narrow limits."** The rcAe- 
nue of the patriarch of Constantinople is drawn 
particularly from the churches that are subject to 
his jurisdiction; and its produce varies according 
to the state and circumstances of the Greek Chris- 
tians, whose condition is exposed to many vicissi- 
tudes, f " The bishops depend entirely upon a 
certain tax, levied upon each house within their 
districts inhabited by Greeks ; and they are univer- 
sally charged with the interest, at least, of large 
sums, accumulated for ages, in consequence of 
monty (avcni ids) levied on the patriarchate, towhicli 
each diocese is bound to contribute its quota. By 
such burdens, the revenues are so diminished as to 
leave to the most opulent bishop, " little more," says 
Mr. Dallaway, " than 300/. a-year."| And the 

* Mosheirn, vol. iv. p. 247. 

t See a brief account of the power and revenue of this 
patriarch, and of the names of the several sees under his 
spiritual jurisdiction, in Dr. Smith Be Eccl. Graccc Hodi- 
erno Statu, p. 48., &c. 

:t " I have been credibly informed," says Mr. Dallaway, 
" that the whole revenue, collected by contribuiion from the 
dioceses, fees for absolution, malediction, masses, and 
compounding of religious penalties, does not exceed 3000/. 
a-year; but this admits a latitude of exception in favour of 
casual and unavowed resources of income." — Pacje 100. 


same defalcation of their oriarinal incomes is said to 
extend throughout the whole ecclesiastical state, 
from the prelates to the parochial papas, or priests. 

The power of the chief patriarch is maintained, 
on the one hand, by the authority of the Turkish 
monarch, and, on the other, by his right of ex- 
communicating the disobedient members of the 
Greek church. His influence ^^ith the Porte is 
very extensive, as far as his o\^'n nation is con- 
cerned. His memorials are never denied ; and he 
can, in fact, command the death, tlie exile, impri- 
sonment for life, deposition from offices, or pecuni- 
ary fine, of any Greek whom he may be inclined 
to punish with rigour, or who has treated his au- 
thority with contempt. And his right of excom- 
munication gives him a singular degree of influence 
and authorit}', as nothing has a more terrifying as- 
pect to that people than a sentence of excommuni- 
cation, which they reckon among the greatest and 
most tremendous e^ils. All orders of secular 
clergy in the Greek church, inferior to bishops, 
are permitted to marry ; and the married papas are 
distin2:uished bv a fillet of white muslin round 
their bonnet of black felt,* and are never promoted 

Another list of the churches depending on the patriar- 
chate of Constantinople, composed by A''ilus Doxopairius, 
may be seen in Leo Allatius, De Conn. Ecd. Occid. et Ori- 
ent, lib. i. cap. 24. And both these lists are copied by Fa- 
ther Simon, in his Critical Historij of the Religions and 
Custo?ns of the Eastern JVations, p. 165. 171. 

* Mr. Daliaway observes, that they likewise " wear long 
beards universally;" a practice which formerly was com- 
mon, if it does rot still extend, to all the clergy of all or- 
ders and descriptions. 


to a higher dignity than that of proto-papas of the 
church in which they serve. The regular clergy, 
we are told, are generally men of a certain educa- 
tion ; whereas the seculars are of the meaner sort, 
and illiterate in the extreme.* 

The Caloyeri, or Greek monks, almost univer- 
sally follow the rule of St. Basil; the convents of 
females are now few in nun^ber ; but in both sexes 
the degree of ascetic proficiency is marked by pe- 
culiar habits. 

Countries where found, Numbers, &c. — 
As the Greek church is of the highest antiquity, 
so, including all its branches, its doctrine prevails 
at this day over a greater extent of country than 
that of any other church in the Christian world, and 
is supposed to be professed by about 30,000,000 
of souls. It is professed through a considerable 
part of Greece, the Grecian islands, Walachia, 
Moldavia, Sclavonia, Egypt, Nubia, Lybia, x\ra- 
bia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine j 
all which belong to this article,t being compre- 
hended within the jurisdiction of the patriarchs of 

* Mr. Dallaway. — Sir P. Ricaut likewise says, that « most 
mechanics amongst us are more learned and knowing than 
the doctors and clergy of Greece." — Preface^ p. 9. 

t Yet the exact number of Christians who are members 
of the Church now under consideration cannot easily be as- 
certained, as no inconsiderable proportion of the Chris- 
tians within these bounds belong to the other Eastern 
Churches, or to other communions. 
VOL. I. 3 A 


Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusa- 
lem. At least one half, if not two-thirds, of the in- 
habitants of European Turkey are Greeks ; and if 
all these be Christians, their number must be very 
considerable, notwithstanding the harsh treatment, 
and many hardships to which for several ages they 
have been exposed. 

Among other grievances, all the Greek males, 
above fourteen years of age, are subject together 
with all other ragas, i. e. all ^vho are not of the 
Mohammedan religion, to a capitation tax, called 
Cai'ach, Avhich " varies," says Mr. Dallaway, " in 
three degrees, fromyoz/r to thirteen piastres'* a-year ; 
nor are the nobility liable to any other personal 
tax: but individuals frequently suffer greatiy in 
their property, without redress."! 

On the other hand, the Greeks in Turkey enjoy 
several privileges; for, besides the patriarchate, to 
which they may aspire, the Ottoman government 
has, for some ages past, conceded to them four 
posts of the greatest honour and emolument that 
a subject can enjoy, viz. the dignity of hospodar, 
or governor of the two fertile provinces of Molda- 
via and Walachia, witli the title of prince, and the 
offices of body physician, and chief dragoman or 
interpreter, of the imperial court. Yet the value 
of these appointments must be much lessened, 

* A piastre is equal to about 4e. sterling, or somewhat 

t Page 105. 


from the circumstance of their being held only at 
the pleasure of the Sultan. 

A district of Constantinople, now called the Fa- 
naly is appropriated, though not exclusively, to the 
Greek nation ; in \^ hich, since the possession of the 
Turks, the noble families, and their dependants, 
have in a great measure resided. And as the pa- 
triarchal church (that of the Blessed Firgin) is si- 
tuated in the centre, the necessary attendance of the 
patriarch and twelve Synodal bishops, with the Ar- 
cho7ides, or princes, has rendered it populous. " In 
former times it was much more so ; for most of 
the latter description have now houses at Kooroot- 
chesme and Arnaoot keuy, on the canal. Whilst 
the total population of the Greeks amounts to 
100,000, that of the Fanal does not exceed 2500. 

" Notwithstanding, it is still that place in the 
whole empire, where only the character of those in 
superior life can be learned : where their manners 
are more polished, their information more extend- 
ed, and their language more pure."* 

In Candia alone (the ancient Crete) are twelve 
bishops ; the first of whom assumes the title of 
Archbishop of Gort7/nia, and resides at Candia, 
the capital of the island ; and the number of Greeks 
is about 150,000.t In Scio also, (the ancient 
Chios) there are about 100,000 Greeks, and ipeve,- 
ral monasteries. 

* Dallaway, p. 99. 

t Savary's Letters on Greece. 


The Greeks have not, properly speaking, any 
universities ; and the chief seminaries of education 
for the members of theii' church are established on 
mount Athos^ in Macedonia, now 'called Monte 
Sancto, or the Holy Mounts where there are twen- 
ty-two monasteries, and about 4000 monks, and at 
the monastery of the Apocalypse^ in the island of 
Patlimos; " but I am credibly informed," says 
Mr. Dallaway, " that the latter contains, at this 
time," (1797) " three professors only, and less than 
100 students."* 

Eminent Men, &c.— Almost all the fathers 
of the first four ages, down to Jerome, were of 
Greece, Syria, and Africa ; and of these, Ignatius, 
Polycarp, Irenseus, Origen, Justin, and Chrysos- 
tom, were all of them great men, some of them 
learned and eloquent, and all of them luminaries 
and ornaments of the Greek church, except Ire- 
nasus, who was bishop of Lyons, but may not im- 
properly be mentioned here, as he was a Grecian, 
and wrote in Greek. To these may be added, 
Basil, bishop of Caesarea; Athanasius, bishop of 
Alexandria; and Gregory of Nazienzen, sirnamed 
the divine^ who was one of its most illustrious or- 
naments, and died about the end of the fourth cen- 
tury, after resigning the See of Constantinople in 

* Page 378. These monks are almost all, as already ob- 
served, of the order of St. Banil. The students are in- 
structed in the Holy Scriptures, and in the various rites 
and ordinances of the Greek church; and out of tliese mo- 
nasteries those bishops who are suffragans to the patriarch 
of Constantinople are usually chosen. 


favour of Timotheus, archbishop of Alexandria, 
who disputed it with him.* 

But, if we descend to later times, a different 
scene will open upon us ; for nothing can be con- 
ceived more deplorable than the state of the greater 
part of the Greeks, ever since their subjection to 
the oppressive yoke of the Ottomans. Since that 
fatal period, almost all learning and science, hu- 
man and divine, have been extinguished among 
them. They have scarcely any schools, colleges, 
or any of those literary establishments that serve 
to ennoble human nature ; and the ignorance that 
reigns among them, has the worst effect upon their 
morals. Those few that surpass the vulgar herd 
in intellectual acquirements, have derived this ad- 
vantage, not from having studied in their monaste- 
ries, but from the schools of learning in Sicily or 
Italy, where the studious Greeks usually repaii* in 
quest of knowledge, or from the perusal of the an- 
cient Fathers ; " and more especially,'' says Mo- 
sheim, " of the Theology of St. Thomas, which 
they have translated into their native language.''! 

Yet, notwithstanding these assertions are built 

* Such is the account that is usually given of his resig- 
nation ; yet it was not Timotheus, but JVectarius, that suc- 
ceeded him. 

In Dr. Pagitf s Christianografihy may be seen the suc- 
cession of the bishops of the four patriarchal sees, for the 
first six hundred years, and of the patriarchs of Constanti- 
nople till towards the end of the seventeenth century, 

t Eccles, Hist. vol. iv. p. 252. 


upon the clearest evidence, and supported by tes- 
timonies of every kind, many of the Greeks deny, 
with obstinacy, this inglorious charge, and exalt 
the learning of their countiymen since the revival 
of letters. One eminent historian* has not only 
composed a list of the learned men that adorned 
Greece m the seventeenth century, but also makes 
mention of an academy founded at Constantinople 
by a certain Greek whose name was Manolax, in 
which all the branches of philosophy, as well as 
the liberal arts and sciences, are taught with suc- 
cess and applause. But all this does not demon- 
strate that modem Greece is enriched with science 
either sacred or profane ; but serves only to prove 
that the populous nation of the Greeks, in which 
there are many ancient, noble, and opulent fami- 
lies, is not entirely destitute of men of leammg 
and genius. In the midst of that ignorance \vhich 
surrounds them, some such have arisen, we readi- 
ly admit, and have shone like meteors in a gloomy 
firmament. And of these, perhaps the most emi- 
nent was Cyrillus Lucar^ patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, in the seventeenth century; a man whose 
name and memory will long be held in honour by 
every orthodox member of the Greek church ; and 
one who, from his learning and character, and the 
firm opposition which he made to the encroach- 
ments of the Romanists, deserved a much better 
fate. The Jesuits, whom this opposition had ren- 
dered his bitter enemy, seconded by the credit and 

* See Demet. Cantcmir's Hiatoire de /' Emfiire Ottoman, 
torn. ii. p. 38. 


influence of the French ambassador at Constanti- 
nople, and assisted by the treacherous stratagems 
of some perfidious Greeks, perplexed and perse- 
cuted him, and, at length, accomplished his ruin; 
for, by the help of false witnesses, they obtained 
an accusation of treason against him, in conse- 
quence of which he was put to death in the year 
1638, by the order of the emperor.* 

* For an account of the authors, who have recorded his 
life, transactions, and deplorable fate, see Mosheim's EccL 
Hist. vol. V. p. 249. Edit. 1806. 




Rise, History, and Changes introdu- 
ced BY Peter the Great. — Of those indepen- 
dent Greek Churches which are governed by their 
own laws, and are in communion with the patri- 
arch of Constantinople, but are not subject to his 
jurisdiction, there is none but the church estalDlish- 
ed in Russia that is of any note in the Christian 
world; the rest, i. e. the Georgians and Mingreli- 
ans^ " are sunk in the most deplorable ignorance 
and barbarity that can possibly be imagined."* 

The accounts which have been given of the in- 
ti'oduction of Cliristianity into Russia, are so fa- 
bulous and ridiculous, that they are sufficiently 
refuted by tlieir own absurdity. Some have pre- 

* Mosheim's Ecd. Hist. vol. v. p. 253. 


tended, that the country was converted by the 
apostle St. Andrew. Another tradition, equally 
groundless, and still more absurd, reports, that St. 
Anthony of Padua, converted them to the Chris- 
tian faith ; and adds, that the saint swam over the 
Levant upon a great mill-stone, and then rode to 
Novogorod upon it! Another account says, that 
Wladimir was convinced of the ti'uth of the Chris- 
tian religion, by seeing the book of the New Tes- 
tament thrown into a large fire, and from thence 
taken out unbumt and unhurt. What we learn 
with most appearance of probability is, that the 
Grand Duchess Olga., or, as her name is pro- 
nounced, Olha^ grandmother to Wladimir, ^vas the 
first person of distinction converted to Christianity 
in Russia, about the year 955, and that she assum- 
ed the name of Helena at her conversion ; under 
which name she still stands as a saint in the Rus- 
sian kalendar. — Methodius, and Cyril the philoso- 
pher, travelled from Greece into Moravia, about 
the year 900, to plant the gospel ; where they trans- 
lated the service of the church, or some parts of it, 
from the Greek into the Sclavonian language, the 
common language, at that time, of Moravia and 
Russia; and thus it is thought that this princess 
imbibed the first principles of Christianity. And, 
being herself fully persuaded of its truth, she was 
very earnest with her son, the Grand Duke Svia- 
toslav^ to embrace it also ; but this, from political 
motives, he declined to do. In the course, how- 
ever, of a few years, Christianity is said to have 
VOL. I. 3 B 


made considerable progi'ess iii that nation; for 
when, after the accession of Wladimir to the throne, 
and his marriage with Anna, a Christian princess, 
daughter of the Greek Emperor Romanus II., and 
sister of the Greek Emperors Basilius and Con- 
stantinus, he, in the year 988, was baptised, (when 
he took the name of Basilius;) it is said that 
20,000 of his subjects were baptised the same day. 

But whether it was Olga or Anna that had the 
Jionour of converting Wladimir, it is fully ascer- 
tained that, about the end of the tenth century, 
the Christian religion was introduced into Russia, 
chiefly through their connexion with Greece ; and 
coming from this quarter, it was very natural that 
the doctrine and discipline of the church of Con- 
stantinople should become at first the pattern of the 
church of Russia, which it still continues to follow 
in the greatest part of its offices. Hence likewise 
the patriarch of Constantinople formerly enjoyed 
the privilege of a spiritual supremacy over the 
Russians, to whom he sent a Metropolitan* when- 
ever a vacancy happened. — Michael was the first 
Metropolitan consecrated at Constantinople, and he 
was brought to Keif hy Wladimir himself. After 

* Metrofiolitans had ihe government of a province, and 
Suffragan bishops under them, and were so called from 
their usually being the bishops of the capital city of the 
province. Mosheim tells us, that in the fourth century, 
they had likewise the archbishops under them; but Metro- 
politan and Archbishop have long been almost synonymous, 
and their ofHces also much the same. 


his death, the MetropoHtan see of Kief was filled 
by Leon^ also from Constantinople ; and bishops 
were consecrated in Russia by their Metropolitans, 
probably with the approbation of the patriarch. 
But this privilege ceased on the 26th of January, 
in the year 1588, when, in a council assembled at 
Moscow^ Jeremiah, patriarch of Constantinoule, 
who happened then to be in that city, yielding to 
the desire of the Czar Theodore Wanovitz, and 
the intreaties of the clergy, placed at the head of 
their church and nation an independent patriarch* 
in the person of Job^ Metropolitan of Moscow ; on 
these terms, however, — that every new patriarch 
of Russia should inforna the pati'iarch of Constan- 
tinople of his elevation, and obtain his confirma- 
tion. But, from this obligation of depending, for 
the confirmation of his installation, on a foreign ju- 
risdiction, the patriarch of Moscow was exempted 
by the four Eastern patriarchs, about the middle 
of the following century, under the pontificate of 
Dionysius II., patriarch of Constantinople. 

Matters seem to have continued in this state, 
and but little occurred in the ecclesiastical history 
of Russia, except perhaps the rise of the sect of the 
jRaskol?iiki,-\ which excited considerable tumults 

* It was then likewise decreed, that the patriarch of 
Moscow (i. e. of Russia) and his successors, should enjoy 
all the prerogatives of the other patriarchs, and have their 
rank next to the patriarch of Jerusalem, 

t See the last head of this article below. 


and commotions in that kingdom, till Peter the 
Great ascended the throne of Russia ; who, in the 
beginning of tlie eighteenth century, made some 
remarkable changes in the form and administration 
both of its civil and ecclesiastical government. 

This great prince made no change in the arti- 
cles of faith received among his countrymen, 
which contain the doctrine of the Greek church ; 
but he took the utmost pains to have this docti'ine 
explained in a manner conformable to the dictates 
of right reason, and the spirit of the gospel; and he 
used the most effectual methods to destroy, on the 
one hand, the influence of that hideous superstition 
that sat brooding over the whole nation ; and, on 
the other, to dispel the ignorance of the clergy, 
which was incredible, and that of the people, which 
would have surpassed it, had that been possible. 

To crown these noble attempts, he extinguished 
the spirit of persecution, and renewed and confinn- 
ed to Christians, of all denominations, liberty of 
conscience, and the privilege of performing divine 
worship in the manner prescribed by their respec- 
tive liturgies and institutions. This liberty, how- 
ever, was modified in such a manner, as to restrain 
and defeat any attempts that might be made by 
the Jesuits and other members of the church of 
Rome, to promote the interests of Popery in Russia, 
or to extend the jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff 
beyond the chapels of that communion that were 
tolerated by law ; and particular charge was given 


to the council, to which belonged the cognisance 
of ecclesiastical affairs, to use their utmost care 
and vigilance to prevent the propagation of Ro- 
mish tenets among the people. All this caution 
had, no doubt, arisen from the repeated efforts of 
the designing pontiffs of Rome and their mission- 
aries to extend the papal empire over the Greek 
churches, under the pretence of uniting the two 
communions; and, with this view, a negotiation 
was entered into in 1580, under John Basilidesy 
Grand Duke of Russia, who seems to have had 
political ends to answer in pretending to favour 
this union. — But, although the professed object of 
this negotiation failed, the ministry of Fossevi?!, 
the learned and artful Jesuit, who was charged 
with the mission on the part of the Roman pontiff, 
was not without fruit among the Russians, especi- 
ally among those residing in the Polish dominions. 

Proposals for uniting the two communions had 
been made by different Popes, as Honorius III., 
Gregory IX., Innocent IV., Gregory XIII., and 
last of all, by the Academy of Sorbonne in 1718; 
but the Russian sovereigns and the nation have 
always remained firm and true to their religion: 
at the same time, all religions, without exception, 
are tolerated in Russia. In the year 1581, in the 
reign of Czar John Fasiiievitz, Pope Gregory 
XIII., proposed to that sovereign that the Luthe- 
ran clergy should be banished from Russia; but 
he was answered, that in that country/ all nations 
have a free exercise of their religions; and now in 
Russia there are Lutherans, Calvinists, Hernhut- 


ters, Armenians, Jews, Mohammedans, Pagans, 
Hindoos, Sec. &c. Roman Catholics are to be 
met with ahnost in ever}^ government, particularly 
in those conquered from the Polish dominions: 
their clergy are governed by their own rulers, and 
are totally independent of the Russian ecclesiasti- 
cal jurisdiction.* 

Peter likewise introduced a considerable change 
into the manner of governing the church. The 
splendid dignity of patriarch, which approached 
too near the lustre and prerogatives of majesty, 
not to be offensive to the emperor, and burden- 
some to the people, was suppressed, in 1721, by 
this spirited monarch, who declared himself (and 
thus became, like the British monarch,) head of 
the national church. 

The functions of this high and important office 
were entrusted with a council assembled at St. 
Petersburg, which was called the IIolu Synod; 
and one of the archbishops, the most distinguished 
by his integrity and prudence, was appointed as 
president of it. 

The other orders of the clergy continued in 

* Mohiloio was erected into an Archiepiscopal see of the 
Roman Catholics in Russia, by the empress Catharine II., 
who wisely reserved to herself the nomination of the pre- 
lates who should fill it. And it is remarkable, that in the 
consecration oath of Stanislaus Siestrzenceivezj the first 
archbishop who was consecrated at Rome, December 21, 
1783, the clause Hmreticos fierse(juar, See. was entirely 
omitted, — Ami. Jac. Rev. Dec. 1807, p. 445. 


their respective rank and offices; but both their 
revenues and their authority were considerably di- 
minished, it was resolved at first, in this general 
reformation, to abolish all monasteries and con- 
vents, as prejudicial to the public, and unfriendly 
to population ; but this resolution was not put in 
execution; on the contrary, the emperor himself 
erected a magnificent monastery in honour of 
Alexander Nexvsky^ whom the Russians place in 
the list of their heroes and saints.* 

Distinguishing Doctrines. — This church 
agrees almost in every point of doctrine with the 
Greek Church subject to the patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, to which article, p. 299. &:c. above, the 
reader is referred. f It, of course, receives seven 
Mysteries or sacraments ; admits no statues or gra- 
ven images, but pictures only, upon which the 
name of the saint must always be inscribed. Dr. 
King assures us, that the more learned of the Rus- 
sian clergy " would willingly allow no picture or 

* Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. vol. v. p. 255, Sec. 

t " Eccl. Russica, ut Christianam fidern sub finem sse- 
culi clecimi, ab. Eccl. Gr. sibi traditam accepit, ita hucdum 
in omnibus essentialibus, imo in ritibus etiam, cum ea ex- 
acte convenit; et nihil m.ijus sibi contingere posse existi- 
mat,quamut in perpetua cum ea unione indissolubilinexu 
permaneat : id quod a Deo O. M. ardentissimis precibus 

Archbishop Platon, in the Supplement to M. Duten's 
<Euvrea Melees, 4:to, partii., to which the reader is referred 
for much authentic information on the general subject of 
this church, as there communicated by that learned and 
venerable prelate. 


representation whatever of God the Father; for the 
figure of ' the ancient of days/ from Daniel's vi- 
sion,* whose ' garment was white as snow, and 
the hair of his head Hke the pure wool,' is by 
them interpreted to be the second person of the 
Trinit}% who so appeared to the prophet; yet it 
must be confessed, that the common practice is so 
contrary to their opinions, that, in a great number 
of churches, as well ancient as modern, this figure^ 
and Jesus, and the Dove, are painted together to 
signify the Trinity: nay, there is now in the 
church of St. Nicholas at Petersburgh, a picture 
of an old man holding a globe, and surrounded 
with angels, on which God the Father is inscrib- 
ed."! Dr. King further observes, that during 
the reign of Peter the Great, the synod censured 
the use of such pictures, and petitioned the empe- 
ror that they might be taken down; when he, 
though concurring in opinion with the synod, de- 
clined giving any command for that purpose, con- 
ceiving that his subjects were not ripe for such a 
reformation, and that, if attempted, it might give 
rise to an insurrection. 

The Apostles^ Creed is received by the members 
of til is church, as containing nothing repugnant to 
sound doctrine ; but it is not sanctioned by public 
authority, like the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds ; 
nor is this last ever recited in public. f We are told, 

* Chap. vii. 9. 
t Page 6. 

I " Usus symboli, ita dicti apostolici, in Eccl. Graeco- 
Russica nonnisi privatus est ... . Symbolum S. Athanasii 


that " in the Russian Greek church there are nei- 
ther sermons, nor exhortations, not catechising."* 
But such an assertion, without explanation or qua- 
lification, can scarcely be admitted, particulai'ly as 
the contrary can be evidently proved by there be- 
ing many volumes of sermons, exhortations, and 
catechetical lectures, printed and published by the 
Russian clergy. They have also been charged with 
rebaptising all proselytes from other communions ; 
but this Archbishop Plato denies, and remarks, 
that, in regard to baptism, they do not differ in any 
thing from the church of Rome, — that they do not 
rebaptise proselytes from any communion of Chris- 
tians, excepting those who are unsound in the doc- 
trine of the Trinity ; and that all others are admit- 
ted members of their church, on their submitting 
to the mystery of the Holy Chrism.\ 

Eccl. nosU'a agnoscit, et inter libros eccles. reperitur, et ut 
ejus fidem sequamur, inculcatur: tamen publice nunquam 

Archb. Platon, ut supra, pp. 164-5. 

* Secret Memoirs of the Court of St. Petersburg, vol. ii. 
p. 76. 

t After observing that they rebaptise those who had 
held (and, I presume, those who had been baptised by men 
holding) heterodox opinions in regard to the Holy Trinity, 
his words are : " Baptismum aliarum Ecclesiarum Chris- 
tianarum non irritum esse putamus, et qui ex iis ad nos 
veniunt, non iterato baptismate, sed solo sacro chrismatc 
inunctos, recipimus." — M. Duten's CEuvree Melees, part 
ii. p. 170. 

And, giving the sentiments of his own, and of the Greek 
church in general, on the subject of Transv^stantiatiouy the 
VOL. I. 3 C 


With regard to the Confession or Catechism 
of the MetropoHtan Mogi/as, to which Dr. Mo- 
sheim refers for the Doctrine of the Greek Church,* 
though it may not be considered at present, as it 
" seems to have been at on6 time, as the standard 
of the principles of the Russian Church;" yet 
even now it is admitted as a work containing no- 
thing repugnant to the dogmas of the councils, and 
the doctrine of the Russian Greek Church. But 
Dr. King says, " they allow the book of no autho- 
rity at all ;''*t an assertion at which no one surely 
can be surprised, after examining the outlines of 
its contents which he gives us. There was, how- 
ever, no other work of the kind in tlieir language, 
till of late years, perhaps not till 1766, A\hen the 
Catechism of Theophanes^ archbishop of Novogo- 
rod, was published by the Synod. Dr. King 
speaks of tlie author of this work as one " of the 
best and most approved Russian authors, and a 

archbishop says, . . . . " Ecclesia Catholica Orientalis, alque 
Graeco-Russica, admittit quidem vocem Transubstantiatio 
Graece (WiTsta-zao-K ; non physicam illam transubstantiationem et 
carnalem, sed sacrmnentaleiti et jnyslicanis eodetnque sensu 
hanc vocem^ transubstantiatio^ accipit, quam quo, antiquissi- 
mi Eccles. Grseca; patres, has voces, A(«TaA^<x>->;,^ET*6«c-K, 
/L«6T«trs/;(^e<a>o-/c, accipiebaiU." — Ibid. p. 171. 

* See the tirticle Greek Cliurch, above, p. 354. 

t Dr. King, p. 19. 

Mogilas, or AJoifis/aus, likewise translated the Jiucholo- 
ffion, or Greek Ritual, into the Sclavonian language," which 
translation is in use among the Russes at this day, and is 
called their Trebnik, or Common Prayer." — Consett's 
Pre/, to his State and Regulations of the Church of Russia, 
8vo. 1729, p. 7.; where see more ot this Confession, which, 

" greej: church. 387 

man of true penetration, moderation, and leai^n- 
ing."*" He likewise speaks favourably of a trea- 
tise, already refeiTed to, by the celebrated Father 
Plato, formerly preceptor for religion and the Latin 
tongue to the Grand Duke, Archimandrite of the 
Trinity Monastery, and member of the Holy Sipiod, 
and now Metropolitan of Moscow, published in 
1765, and intitled, Orthodox Learning, or A Sum- 
mary of Christian D'wmity, which he wTote for the 
use of his Imperial Highness the late Emperor 
Paul; " a most rational and ingenious perform- 
ance, worthy the distinguished talents and erudi- 
tion of its author."! 

when subscribed by the four patriarchs, Sec. and confirmed 
by a synod at Constantinople, received the title of The Con- 
fession of the Catholic and Afiostolic Faith of Grecians and 
Russians ; i. e. of the whole Eastern or Greek Church. 

* Fref. p. 9. 

t An edition of this treatise in French was published at 
St. Petersburj^ in 1776, and, a learned and distinguished 
divine of this communion having politely favoured me with 
the perusal of a copy of this edition, I am happy to join Dr. 
King in his commendation of the work, which is doubtless 
the best existing Theological Compendium of this church ; 
at the same time, I humbly conceive, with all due submis- 
sion to the very learned and respectable author, that he has 
ventured to draw aside the veil that hangs on some future 
scenes, a little farther than the Scriptures have done . . '. . 
Thus, he says, p. 152, speaking of the resurrection, — 
" Les bienheureux seront glorieux, c'est a dire, ornes de 
lous les dons, dans le bel age, dans la fleur meme de la 
beautc immarcessi'ole," 8cc. &c. Expressions these in re- 
gard to what " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," which 
cannot fail to remind us of the scenery presented to our 
imagination by one whose character and principles have 


Worship, Rites, and Ceremonies. — Un- 
der these heads hkewise, diere is but httle worthy 
of remark here, unless that, in addition to the forms 
and services of the Greek church, most of A\hich 
the Russians ha^ e all along adopted, they still re- 
tain various ceremonies and superstitions of their 
own. At present, however, instead of strictly ob- 
ser\ang all the canonical hours, they have service, 
both in monasteries and parish churches, only tliree 
times a day : viz. the vespers^ — the uiatiiis, — and 
the liturgy^ or communion. 

Whether the same forms had been every where 
established, on the first introduction of Christianity 
into Russia, is uncertain : but while tlie service- 
books were not printed, but in manuscript, while 
a gi-eat part of the ceremonies were not wTitten, 
and while a great latitude was left to the officiating 
priest in the choice of these ceremonies, many va- 
riations must naturally have arisen ; and so, m fact, 
such diversities, and such errors and abuses, did 
arise, that the Patriarch A^i/con, A. D. 1659, in the 
reign of Alexis Alichaeloxvich ^ father of Peter tlie 
Great, in order to render the public service uniform 
throughout the a\ hole empire, called in all the ma- 
nuscript books from the churches, and ga\ e printed 
copies in their stead; with a directory, or book, 
which contains the regulations according to which 
all the services are appointed to be performed.* 

already been considered ; and which differ frem those of 
this venerable prelate, not a little, but toto ccelo. 

* This was the second edition of tlie Church books. See 
below, p. 375. A''tkon likewise caused an edition of the 


Had the means which this patriarch took for 
introducing his reformed ritual been as mild, as 
his motives doubtless in preparing it were pure, 
his character would have been more amiable and 
consistent. He " was no doubt right in endea- 
vouring to render the form of worship more pure 
and simple; but he was wrong in exhorting the 
Czar Alexis to employ violence. They who would 
not make the sign of the cross with three fingers, 
had their hand cut oft: — hence arose a schism. 

" These schismatics would not admit either the 
translation of the sacred books by Nichon, or his 
new litanies; and even now they would rather 
lose their head, than not make the sign of the 
cross with two fingers, as a symbol that tlie Holy 
Ghost proceeds from the Father alone.''* 

Scriptures in the dialect of the country to be printed at 
Moscow, in 1663. It was taken from an edition of them 
in the Sclavonian language, printed in Poland, by ConstaU' 
tinCf Duke of Ostrogh, in 1581. " These," says Mr. Con- 
sett, " are all the editions extant in that language, and 
hardly either of them anywhere to be found but in private 
studies, and scarce to be purchased for less than five 
pounds." — Preface, p. 18. 

It is said that only three editions of the Russian Bible 
have since been published, consisting in all of not more 
than 6000 copies. What a vast disproportion to the popu- 
lation of Russia, which is supposed to be from thirty to 
forty millions ! 

This circumstance, however, has not escaped the noiicc 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 

* Secret Memoirs of the Court of St. Petersburg, vol. ii. 
p. 85. See below, p. 406, S^c. 


The church service, in general, is performed in 
the Sclavonian language ; but in some places it is 
also performed in the Greek, both ancient and 
modern ; and, in the administration of tlie sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper, they use the liturgies 
of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom. 

The Greek Church does not allow any musical 
instruments; but the rhyme observed in singing 
the hymns produces a melody, with which the eai" 
may be verj' well entertained.* 

Every person is obliged, by the civil law, to 
communicate at least once in the year, which is 
commonly done in the fast before Easter ; and they 
scarcely ever receive the holy communion oftener : 
yet the service of the liturgy, or hearing mass^ as 
it literally is, is always considered as the principal 
service of the day. M. Chanti'eau A\as witness to 
the administration of the sacrament on the feast of 
Pentecost, when he tells us, that a protopope pre- 
sented to the communicants, (meaning the clergy) 

* M. Clianfreau observes, that " the Greek priests have 
much more reverence and meditation in tlicir way of going 
through divine service than the Latin priests;" — and that 
on festivals divine service is performed in Russia " with 
much more pomp than in the Latin Church," This last 
ol)servaiion may be true ; but, if other accounts arc to be 
depended upon, the former may justly be questioned. 
Besides, as his account of their manner of going through 
the church-service seems to be taken from what he him- 
self saw in the cathedral of St. Petersburg, when the 
Archbishop of Moscow officiated, there is some reason to 
think that it may be too favourable. 


Standing in two rows in the altar, a cup, in which 
was wine mixed with kikewarm water. " Every 
one,'' adds he, " drank of it in his turn, the cup 
passing successively from the right row to the 
left ; and every communicant was served with a 
bit of bread, in a spoon, which had been soaked 
in wine."* But I have very good authority for 
observing, that this account is not correct, and that 
it should have been said, the consecrated bread was 
first administered, and the cup afterwards. 

Such is the form of administration for the cler- 
gy ; whereas in this, as well as other branches of 
the Greek church, the laity, as already observed, 
always receive both elements together. " If there 
be any who desire to participate of the holy mys- 
teries, the priest is to divide the two remaining por- 
tions of the holy lamb," ?. e. the last two of the five 
consecrated loaves, " into as many small parts as 
will be sufficient for all the communicants; and, 
putting them into the holy cup, he administers the 
body and blood of the Lord together, according to 
custom. But they are not to receive till after the 
deacon has said: Draw near with fiiith and godly 
fear. Then they who communicate are to go near,^ 

* Travels, vol. i. p. 140. 

t z. e. To the Holy and Royal door of the Ikonostas, (E«». 
voo-Tatr/c) or screen, which separates the altar, prothesis, and 
vestry, from the nave or body of the church ; for into the 
sanctuary, within this partition, or into what we would call 
the chancel, the clergy only are permitted to enter ; there 
are even express canons to prohibit women going within it. 
This screen is so called, as already observed, from the most 


one after another, bowing with all humility and re- 
verence ; and, holding their hands crossed on their 
breasts, ai-e to receive the di\'ine mysteries; the 
priest, as he distributes them, mentions every com- 
municant's name : A*. A'*, the sei~vant of God., doth 
partake of the pure and holy body and blood of our 
Lord, our God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, for 
the remission of his sins, and for eternal life. Amen. 
The communicant then wipes his lips with the holy 
covering, and, kissing the holy cup, retires bowing.* 

The Russians, with their mother church, have four 
lents annually, besides a great number of other ab- 
stinences, or fasts, and Wednesdays and Fridays, 
which are fish-days throughout the whole year. 
^\\e. first lent comprehends the forty days previous 
to Christmas ; the second, which is their great lent, 
the same space of time before Easter ; the third, 
called the Lent of St. Peter, commences the week 
after Pentecost, or Whitsunday, and ends on the 
feast of St. Peter (June 29th) ; and the fourth, the 
lent of the mother of God, begins on the 1st, and 
ends on the 15th, of August, — this last being the 
day of Koimesis, or the assumption of the blessed 
virgin, t 

holy pictures being usually painted or hung upon it : and 
the idea of the separation seems to have come from the 
sanctum sanctorum of the Jewish temple. 

* Rubric of the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, as given 
by Dr. King: in whose work, on the Rites and Ceremonies 
of this Church, may be seen most of its offices, orders, and 
services, at full length. 

t "They eat neither meat, milk, nor eggs, during Lent- 


The Russian Church, as well as the Latin, has 
many ceremonies, practices, and customs, which 
it would answer no good purpose to detail here : 
but as the ceremony of the Benediction of the xva- 
ters is of considerable antiquity, and is a remark- 
able solemnity in this church, in which it is still 
practised, some account of it may not be unaccept- 
able to the reader. 

In the Greek Church there are two offices for 
the benediction or sanctifi cation of the water, call- 
ed in the Eiichologion, " The office of the Lesser 
Sanctification," which may be performed at any 
time, when there is a want of holy water for bap- 
tism, or any oti:ier use of the church; and " The 
office of the Great Sanctification,'' which is cele- 
brated on the Holy Theophany or Epiphany, in 
memory of the baptism of Christ ; by which the 
Greeks believe that the nature of all waters is sanc- 
tified; and that such virtue remains in them after 
this ceremony, that those taken in the night, ^vhen 
this service is performed in the church, will remain 
uncoiTupted for years, and be as fresh as water 
just taken from the spring or river. This appears 
from St. Chrysostom's Homily on the baptism of 
Christ; whence we may leani the antiquity of this 
ceremony, and that it a\ as originally performed at 
the Mesonycfwn, or midnight service, which seems 
to be universally admitted. In Russia, this ser- 

Linseed oil, fish, herbs, roots, and mushrooms, are then 
their sole nourishment." — Secret Memoirs., vol. ii. p. 87. 
VOL. T. 3D 


vice is joined with the liturgy of St. Basil, in the 
evening, on the vigil of the Epiphany (6th Janu- 
ary), when the Pernoctation is performed, and 
again repeated after the liturgy on the following 
morning; at which, in St. Petersburg, the sove- 
reign and the whole court assist, and walk in pro- 
cession with the clerg}'. 

A description of the manner in which this so- 
lemnity is annually celebrated at St. Petersburg, 
is given us by Dr. King, and by M. Chantreau; 
from both which, that here jwesented to the reader 
is chiefly collected. On the river j\cva^ upon the 
ice, which is then strong in that country, there is 
erected for this ceremony, a kind of temple of 
wood, usually of an octagonal figure, painted and 
richly gilt, having the inside decorated a\ ith va- 
rious sacred pictures, representing the baptism of 
our Saviour, his transfiguration, and some other 
parts of his life, and on the top a picture of St. 
John the Baptist. This is called the Jordan, 
which name used to signify the baptistiy or font, 
or any basin in which holy water is consecrated. 
There the attention of the spectators is drawn to a 
large emblem of the Holy Ghost, appearing to de- 
scend from heaven, a decoration common to al- 
most all Greek churches, in which 2^ peristerion^ or 
dove, as a symbol of the Holy Ghost, is usually 
suspended from four small columns which support 
a canopy o\ er the Holy Tabic. The Jordan is 
surrounded by a temporary hedge of the boughs 
of fir-trees ; and, in the middle of the sanctuary or 
chancel is a square space, ^\here the broken ice 


leaves a communication with the water rui)ning 
below, and the rest is ornamented with rich tapes- 
try. Around this temple a kind of gallery is 
erected, and a platform of boards, covered with 
red cloth, is laid for the procession to go upon, 
guarded also by a fence of boughs. The gallery 
communicates with one of the windows of the Im- 
perial palace, at which the emperor and his family 
come out to attend the ceremony, which begins as 
soon as the liturgy is finished in tlie chapei of the 
Imperial palace, and the regiments of guards have 
taken post on the river. Then, at the sound of the 
bells, and of the artillery of the fortress, the clerks, 
the deacons, the priests, the archimandrites, and 
the bishops, dressed in their richest robes, carry- 
ing in their hands lighted tapers, the censer, the 
Gospel, and the sacred pictures and banners, pro- 
ceed from the chapel to the Jordan, singing the 
hymns appointed in the office, and followed by the 
emperor, the grand duke, the senators, and the 
whole court. 

When arrived at the place where the ice is bf6- 
ken, the archbishop of Moscow, or other officiat- 
ing bishop, descends, by means of a ladder, to the 
side of the water. There he reads the prayers ap- 
pointed in the office, — dips his cross three times, 
and ends the ceremony by an exhortation appro- 
priate to it; and the waters are then thought to be 
blessed. As soon as the service is finished, the 
artillery and soldiers fire ; after which the prelate 
sprinkles the water on the company around him, 
and on the colours of all the regiments that happen 


to be at St. Petersburg, which are planted round 
the Jordan. He then retires, when the people 
cro\\'d towards tlie hole, and drink of tlie waters 
with a holy avidit)'. " Notw ithstanding the cold, 
the mothers plunge their infants, and the old men 
their heads into them. Every body makes it a 
dut)' to caiTy aw ay some for the pmification of 
their houses, and curing certain distempers, against 
which the good Russians pretend this holy water 
is a powerful specific."* 

Many of the common people of Russia, besides 
the consecrated amulet, which they wear about 
their necks, which they receive at their baptism, 
and which they ne\er after lay aside, commonly 
cairy in their pockets a figure of some patron saint, 
stamped on copper. This they carry w ith tliem 
every where as devoutly as iEneas did his lares 
^nd. penatcs. Nay, like the Spaniards and Italians, 
the Russians have small chapels in their houses in 
honour of their favourite saint, who in Russia is 
known by the name of Bog or Obraz ; and no ex- 
pense is grudged to decorate the chapel of a Bog^ 
when the proprietor is a person of property. f Nor 

* Dr. King's Ceremonies., Sec. p. 381-. In this work may 
be seen the order or office for this ceremony. 

t " What will be scarcely believed, but we can attest, be- 
cause we have seen it, is, that M. Sclieremetoff, a member 
of the Directing SenaCc, has a cabinet of BoffN worth more 
than a million of rubles, or 222,222/. 4s. sterling." — M. 
Chantreau's Travels in Russia, vol. i. pp. 143-4, where 
we are told, that in several cities there are particular mar- 
kets for selling ^oifs ; and llial wax candles or tapers are 
burned before them. Yet these are the people whose 


is this childishness the rage of the common people 
only ; for even noblemen, people in office, monas- 
teries, all have their Bogs, and at the highest price. 
The saint or Bog is generally painted on wood, 
and its value is constituted by the diamonds with 
which it is surrounded. A Russian entering an 
apartment, salutes no one before he has made 
three cross signs before the Bog of the house ; and 
those most in fashion are St. Nicholas, St. John 
Baptist, St. Sergius, and St. Alexander Newski ; 
yet the other saints are not without veneration, 
more or less, which is always settled by the pre- 
tended power attributed to them by ignorant su- 

It has already been observed,* that the oint- 
ment for the Holi/ Chrism can be consecrated only 
by a bishop, and that only once a-year, on Thurs- 
day in Passion week ; it may here be added, that 
the preparation and consecration of it is likewise 
confined in Russia to two places : — to Moscow for 
Great Russia, and to Kicffiox Little Russia, whence 
it is distributed to the several churches in each 
country. At Moscow there is a place belonging 
to the College of the Holy Synod, near the Cathe- 
dral church, on purpose for this preparation, where 
the vessels and all proper utensils are kept.f 

church is styled by Dr. Mosheim, " The chief bulwark 
and ornament of the Grecian faith !" — Ecd. Hist. vol. iv. 
p. 273. 

* See the article Greek Churchy above, p. 336. 

t See a list of the different ingredients in the composi- 
tion, which are upwards of twenty, together with the or- 

398 the russian 

Church Government and Discipline. — 
From the first introduction of Christianity into 
Russia, till the year 1589, this church had been 
always subject to the patriarch of Constantinople, 
but no sooner was Job consecrated patriarch of 
Russia, than she declared herself independent of 
the other; yet it appears that she has since fre- 
quently appealed to the see of Constantinople, not 
only in the way of advice, but judicially. Thus, 
it was by the authority of the patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, that Alexis, father of Peter the Great, de- 
posed Nikon, the Russian patriarch,* whose power 
and influence had arisen to that astonishing height, 
that he even excommunicated the Czar. Peter 
the Great was too clear-sighted not to discern the 
dangerous consequences of this enormous power 
of the patriarchs, which had grown up by degrees, 
from concessions made to them by the Czars, — 
from the great wealth that they possessed, — ^from 
their influence with the clergy, and from their fa- 
mily connexions ; and therefore, upon the death of 
the patriarch Adrian, in 1700, he suppressed that 
dignity, and gave the administration of the affairs 
of the patriarchate to Stephen Jaxvorskij, metropo- 
litan of Rezan, with the tide of Exarch or vicege- 
rent of the patriarchal see. But small and daily 
occurrences were the only business which came 
before the exarch ; all affairs of importance were 
Ijrought before the sovereign, or an assembly of 

der of preparing it, in Dr. King's Rices and Ceremonies, p. 
419, &c. 

» This, however, did not take place without the forma- 
lity of a council, which was held in 1667. 


the other bishops, to dehberate upon them ; which 
assembly of the exarch and bishops was then 
known by the name of the Holy Council, 

This government of the Exarchy lasted only till 
the year 1721, when Peter the Great declared, in 
a full assembly of the clergy, that he thought a pa- 
triarch to be neitlier necessary for the administra- 
tion of church aifairs, nor expedient for the state ; 
and therefore he had detennined to inti*oduce an- 
other form of ecclesiastical government, which 
should keep the medium between that of a single 
person and general councils; and this new mode 
was to be a constant council or synod, with the 
name of The Holy Legislative Synod. Of this 
college or synod, whose seat \Aas fixed at St. Pe- 
tersburg, he, at the same time, declared himself to 
be the supreme judge, as well as head of the 
church. It at first consisted of t\\ elve members, 
three of whom were bishops, and the rest archiman- 
drites, hegumens, and protopopes. &.c, ; but the 
number has, since his time, been frequently 
changed by the sovereign, on whose will, the no- 
mination of all the members, their appointments as 
such, and the time they serve in that capacity, en- 
tirely depend. And, besides these, an officer, a 
layman, called the Chief Procurator^ always at- 
tends at their deliberations, who is considered as 
placed there on the part of the cro\An, and has a 
negative upon all their resolutions, till they are 
laid before the sovereign. Every member, before 
he is qualified to sit, is also obliged to take an 
oath of allegiance, couched in the strongest terms. 


in which it is declared, that no other than the so- 
vereign should be considered as its head ; so that 
the checks put to the power of the clergy by the 
establishment of this ecclesiastical college, are so 
eftbctual, that no prince in the world can now have 
less to fear from them than the sovereign of Rus- 
sia. At the same time, to elevate this college in 
the minds of the people, and to prevent their look- 
ing upon it like the inferior colleges, it was order- 
ed, that in all spiritual concerns it should have the 
same power as the Senate ; — the same respect; — 
the same obedience, and the same right to punish 
the refractory. But in mixed cases which con- 
cern both the temporal and spiritual goAcrnment, 
it was decreed, that the synod should consult with 
the senate, and present their common judgment to 
the emperor for his approbation. 

Theophanes, archbishop of Novogorod, was the 
person who was principally charged by Peter with 
his new-projected regulation; and that prelate con- 
ducted it with much success, as may be seen from 
a ^^■ork intitled, The Spiritual Jiegu/ation, which 
contains this new plan of ecclesiastical government 
and discipline : and, with some other pieces, well 
worth the perusal, was translated from the Sclavo- 
nian into English, by the Rev. Mr. Consett, for- 
merly chaplain to the British Factory in Russia, 
and printed in 1729. It is divided into three 
parts, of which the Jirst sets forth tiie reasons for 
making these importaiU changes in the administra- 
tion of ecclesiastical afiairs, and the advantages of 
this particular form : the second, the matters sub- 


ject to the cognisance of the synod ; and the thirdy 
the duty, office, and power of the members them- 
selves. His Imperial Majesty's edict for establish- 
ing the spiritual college, or synod, together with the 
oath required of all the members, is prefixed, and 
an appendix is subjoined, regulating matters respect- 
ing the clergy, monks, and nuns. 

This work is, upon the whole, a judicious per- 
formance, and, at the same time, very curious, as 
it gives a striking picture of the unhappy state of 
darkness and superstition in which tlie clergy, as 
well^s people, were involved before the reign of 
Peter, most justly styled the Great. 

Though matters belonging to the synod were 
clearly defined and ascertained in the Spiritual Re- 
gulatioiiy yet its members were further empowered 
to make new laws, first presenting tliem to the em- 
peror for his approbation. And Peter, having 
placed the constitution and affairs of the Russian 
church on this footing, wrote a letter to Jeremios, 
then patriarch of Constantinople, stating the changes 
which he had made in the ecclesiastical govern- 
ment of his country, and desiring his approbation : 
to this the patriarch replied, in a letter dated 23d 
September, 1723, " that he fully approved of the 
whole ; and all the patriarchs, since that time, have 
honoured the synod with the name of Patri- 

* Dr. King, p. 446. 
VOL, I. 3 E 


To tlie synod tlie electicn of bishops was en- 
trusted by the Spiritual Regulation, and at the same 
time the manner of election is there prescribed : 
the synod is to nominate two candidates, and present 
them to the sovereign, of whom he is to make choice 
of one. The persons most eligible to this dignity 
are the archimandrites, and hegumens who belong 
to the synod ; and, after them, other distinguished 
archimandrites Avho are entrusted with affairs to the 
synod from their dioceses, and, attending in St. Pe- 
tersburg, give proofs of their abilities in conduct- 
ing the concerns of the church. In this respect 
Peter seems to have made no great innovation or 
change; for the election and confirmation of the su- 
perior clergy in Russia always depended upon the 
sovereign, though the ecclesiastics had a share in 
the election. 

For the government of his diocese, each bishop 
has a consistory in the chief city, which is composed 
of three members, either archimandrites, hegu- 
mens, or protopopes, all appointed by the bishop. 
And subordinate to the consistory are many lesser 
courts of judicature, called Ca?itoir.s\ in \vhich there 
are generally two members and their secretaries. 
Appeals lie from the cantoirsto the consistory, from 
the consistory to the bishoji, and from the bishop to 
the synod. 

The Clergy, Monks, Nuns, he. — The epis- 
copal order in Russia is distinguished by the dif- 
ferent titles of metropolitan, archbishop, and bi- 
shop. The titles of metropolitan and archbishop 


are not attached to the see, as in England; but 
are, at present, merely personal distinctions confer- 
red by the sovereign, which give the possessors no 
additional power, and scarcely any precedence ; for 
every bishop is independent in his own diocese, or 
dependent only on the synod. — There are two bi- 
shops, called Vicar-hishops^ one of Novogorod, the 
other of Moscow. Whether their office was origi- 
nally the same with that of the Chorepiscopi is not 
ascertained ; but, be that as it may, they are now 
consecrated prelates, with full power to execute 
every episcopal function in their own district : at the 
same time, there lies an appeal from them to the 
bishop of the diocese, for whom they pray as for 
their metropolitan. 

The clergy are divided into regular and secular. 
The former are of the monastic order, the latter are 
the parochial clergy, who are not only allowed to 
maiTy once, but formerly, a secular priest could not 
be ordained without being married ; and, if his wife 
died, he was obliged to quit his priesthood, and 
either retire to a monastery, or submit to take some 
inferior office in the church ; so strictly was he " the 
husband of one wife.'' That practice is now changed ; 
but still, the secular clergy are never permitted to 
maiTy twice, unless they relinquish their function, 
and become laymen. 

They are called papas^ or popes, i, e. fathers ; 

* The word pafia is from the Greek, and was given in- 
discriminately, in the first ages of Christianity, to all bi- 
shops, and in the East to all ecclesiastics, till Gregory the 


and the highest dignity to which they can aspire 
is that of protopnpc^ or first pope in those church- 
es where there are several. One of this order may 
indeed be promoted to a bishopric, after the death 
of his wife, but he must first assume the habit. 
" The secular clergy,*' says Dr. King, " are gene- 
rally the most ignorant, having seldom had any 
education, and being often taken from the common 
peasants; the chief literary qualification required 
of such is, tliat they be able to read the service of 
the church, and to wi'ite their own language."* 
But this state of the secular clergy has been consi- 
derably improved since the reign of Catherine the II. 

Peter did not think it necessary to suppress mo- 
nasteries and nunneries; but he restricted their 
number, and enacted laws for their better regula- 
tion. Among others, the age before which no per- 
son was to be received a monk was fixed at thirty ; 
and even then, before any one could take the habit, 
it was made necessary that he should serve a novi- 
ciate of three years in some monastery, and have 
the permission of the bishop of the diocese. If the 
novice, after the term of three years, should change 

Vllth ordered it to be reserved to the Bishop of Rome alone. 
But the separation between the Latin and Greek churches 
having taken place before his pontificate, the Greek Chris- 
tians did not respect this order, and therefore still design 
their inferior clergy by the title oi /la/ia/i or popes. 

* Page 273. Cliantreau observes, that ihc monks "look 
on the popes as very far belcw ihem." This may be ac- 
counted for from their not being, with themselves, eligible 
to the highest offices in the church. 


his mind, and wish to return to the world, he is at 
liberty to depart ; if not, he must present a certifi- 
cate from the superior and monks of the monaster}- 
where he is to be received, before the bishop is 
autliorised to give him his permission. 

Most of the rules that were made for the regu- 
lation of monks and monasteries, were, at the same 
time, meant to extend to nuns and their societies ; 
for which some additional laws were likewise en- 
acted. By these it is determined that no mm shall 
receive the tonsure before she is sixty years of age ; 
at least, never before fifty. But if a young woman 
has an inclination to become a nun, the circum- 
stances of her case being approved of, she may be 
allowed to reside in a convent, (if she does not 
change her mind) till she has attained the age pre- 
scribed; when, if still so disposed, she may take 
the habit. 

By these laws and regulations, which may be 
seen in the Spiritual Regulation^ or in Dr. Kings's 
Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, in Rus- 
sia, it appears that Peter wisely recommended in- 
dustiy to the religious of both sexes ; and, for the 
improvement of the monks in learning, he ordered 
the youngest to be sent to learn Latin and Greek 
in the schools at Moscow. 

There are thirty- six achbishoprics and bishop- 
rics in Russia, whereof the principal are, — Keiff, 
Novogorod, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kasan, As- 
tracan, Tobolsk, Jarostavl, Pscov, Rezan, Tver, 


&C. " At this day Russia contains an hundred 
and fift}' monasteries, governed by fifty-eight .4r- 
chinwTidrifes, and ninety-nine Iginnens (Hegumens) 
or Priors^ and sixty-seven convents directed by 

The number of monks is supposed to be upwards 
of 6000, and of nuns more than 5000. — The other 
priests or ecclesiastics belonging to monasteries 
and catliedrals are to the number of 2000."* 

With regard to the income of the clergy, we 
likewise learn from M. Chantreau that " the arch- 
bishops and bishops have from 16 to 18,000 li\res 
a-year; the protopopes about 800 livres; and the 
inferior clergy, in a country where provisions are at 
the lowest rate, have about fifty crowns in the small- 
est living, and 750 livres in the best. Besides, 
they possess a wooden house, and a piece of ground, 
A\ hich they themselves generally cultivate."! 

Sect of Raskolniki, or Isbraniki. — 
Though no person is excluded from any office or 
employment under the Russian government, on 
account of his religious tenets,^ yet, as the sove- 

* M. Chantreau's Travels, vol. i. p. 102. 

t Travels, vol. i. pp. 101, 103. "All the children of 
priests are free, and generally consecrated to the service of 
the church." — P. 104. 

:} I here fullov/ Dr. King, (p. 1.) from whom M. Chan- 
:rcau seems to differ, by observing, that the members of 
the sect now under consideration are excluded from offices 
of trust. — Vol. i. p. 146. 


reign and the Imperial family do always conform 
to the Greek Church, and no Russian, who has 
been educated in it, can lawfully depart from it, it 
may, with propriety, be called the national or esta- 
blished church. And though in Russia there are 
Pagans, Mohammedans, and Christians of various 
denominations, it does not appear that there Mere 
any schismatics or sects that separated from the 
Russian church, till about the middle of the six- 
teenth century;* before which time there were 
hardly any printed books in Russia, and the MSS. 
were then miserably incorrect. The Czar John 
Basllkles therefore caused a considerable number of 
the church books to be printed and distributed for 
the use of the churches in 1562 ; and the newly 
printed copies differing considerably (by being 
corrected) from the MSS. excited religious zeal 
amongst the ignorant people, which was kept up 
by equally ignorant, or perhaps designing clergy, 
chiefly those monks and others, who, to elude 
punishment for their misconduct, hid themselves 
in woods and other places distant from capital 
towns. But the external troubles of tliose times, 
from Tartars, Poles, Swedes, Sec. and daily immi- 
nent dangers, prevented the civilisation of Russia, 

* It is not without good authority that I here venture 
to differ from the learned Mosheim, who seems to date 
the first appearance of the Raskohiiki about the year 1666. 
The account here given differs still more widely from 
Voltaire, (who places it so far back us the twelfth century) 
notwithstanding he pretends to have drawn the materials 
of his History of the Russian Empire under Peter I. from 
authentic records furnished by the Court of St. Petersburg. 


and kept back the spreading of the Raskolniks t© 
any extent, till about the middle of the next cen- 
tury, when, in the time of Czar Alexis Michaelo- 
vitz, the same causes produced the same effects. 

The yet miserable state of the church induced 
that soA^ereign, and the patriarch Nikon, with the 
advice f)f a council held at Moscow, and that of the 
patriarch of Constantinople, &c. to collect as many 
as they could of the still existing manuscript and 
old printed church books, and to distribute, in their 
stead, copies (more coiTect)of the new edition then 
printed. This being done \\ ith strictness, and per- 
haps with more zeal than judgment, created great 
alarm amongst ignorant people, and enlarged the 
number of the Raskolniks to a very gi'eat degree. 

This is the only sect we have yet heard of that 
has broken off from the established church in Rus- 
sia,* and it seems to have been formed on very 
frivolous grounds. Its members assumed the name 
of Isbraniki, i. e. the multitude of the elect ; or, ac- 

* It seems, however, to be subdivided into many inferior 
sects or parties. <' It is a common mistake," says Dr. King, 
"to consider the Raakolnikis as a particular sect. They are, 
in fact, a great many different sects, as distant from each 
other as from the established church. Each of them boasts 
of its antiquity, and calls its adherents the Old Believers. 
There is such a variety among tliem, that I have seen a 
catalogue of thirty or forty different sects." — P. 439, note. 

Of these a divine of the Russian church remarks, that 
" they are all founded upon misconception, ignorance and 
superstition, fuUof incoherence, and all kindsof absurdities." 


cording to others, Staroivertsi^ i. e. believers in the 
ancient faith : but the name given them by their ad- 
versaries, and that by which they are generally 
known, is Raskolniki^ i. e. Schismatics, or the Se- 
ditious Jaction . 

They allege, in defence of their separation, the 
corruptions, both in doctrine and discipline, that 
have been introduced into the Russian church. 
They profess a rigorous zeal for the letter of holy 
scripture, \\ hich they do not understand ; and tlie 
transposition of a single word in a new edition of 
the Russian Bible, though this transposition was 
made to correct an uncouth phrase in the translation 
commonly received, threw them into the gi'eatest 
combustion and tumult. They will not allow a 
priest to administer baptism after having tasted spi- 
rituous liquor ; and, in this, perhaps, they do not 
amiss, since it is well known (or often said) " that 
the Russian priests seldom touch the flask without 
drinking deep."' They hold, that there is no sub- 
ordination of rank, no superior or inferior among 
the faithful ; that a Christian may kill himself for 
the love of Christ : — that Hallelujah must be but 
twice pronounced ; and that it is a great sin to re- 
peat it thrice ; and that a priest must never give a 
blessing but with tliree fingers. They are regular, 
even to austerity, in their manners ; but as they have 
always refused to admit Christians of other denomi- 
nations into their religious assemblies, they have 
been suspected of committing in them various abo- 

voL. I. 3 F 


minations, which ought not to be bjelieved without 
the strongest demonstrative proof.* 

These people have suffered much persecution, 
and various means ha\'e been taken to bring them 
back into the bosom of the church, but all in >'ain ; 
"arguments, promises, threatenings, dragoonings, 
the authority of synods and councils, seconded b} 
racks and gibbets ; in a word, all the methods that 
artifice or barbarity could suggest, have been prac- 
tised ;"t but these, instead of lessening, have in- 
creased their numbers, and, instead of closing, have 
widened the breach. Peter ga^ e them some cele- 
brity by the means which he took for restoring them 
to their mother church ; " but in him u ho affected 
toleration, and thought it useful to the population 
of his dominions, which stood so much in need of 
population,^' I agree with M. Chanti'eau in saying, 
that " it was unpardonable to have employed tor- 
ture for converting them. Above all, he deserves 
to be severely blamed for the punishment of the un- 
fortunate Toma^ who ought to have been confined, 
not given up to the flames.'*| This Toma was 
one of dieir priests, and a great enemy to the use 
of images, and the invocation of saints ; and he bore 

* D. M'Laine's note (n) in Dr. Mosheim's Eccles.Hist. 
vol. V. pp. 253-4. 

The Doctor should, in justice to them, have added, that 
they look upon ihe worship of imiiges as gross idolatry; 
and, perhaps this practice in the Russian Church was one 
reason of tlieir separating from it. 

t MosHEiM, vol. V. pp. 253-4. 

J Travels^\o\. i. p. 147. 


his cruel punishment with such fortitude and un- 
daunted resokition, that Peter, struck with his con- 
duct when committed to the flames, is said to have 
repented of having given his consent to his condem- 
nation, and to have issued an order forbidding the 
persecution of the Raskolnikiy but commanding 
them to wear a sort of red hood, to distinguish them 
from his other subjects, which it seems they still 
continue to do. They have, however, met with 
much milder treatment ever since the reign of that 
monarch, and under Prince Potemkin they were 
granted several indulgences ; s© that the sect is still 
numerous and powerful. " There are some weal- 
thy merchants and great lords who are attached to 
it, and it is widely diffused among the peasants."* 

* Secret Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 85. 




WITH regard to the other independent Greek 
churches, viz. those of the Georgians and Mmgre- 
lians., or, as they were anciently called, the Iberians 
and ColchianSy* I have not as yet been able to learn 
any thing authentic, and of much importance, fur- 
ther than what is told us by Dr. Mosheim, who 
observes, that the light of the gospel was introduced 
into Iberia by means of a female captive, in the 
fourth century, under Constantine the Great,f and 
that they have declined so remarkably since the 

* Georgia is often considered as comprehending both 
tbese nations, which are situated between the Black Sea 
•and the Caspian, and together form one of the Seven Cau- 
casian nations. — About the etymon of the name Georgia, 
authors are not agreed ; some think that the inliabilants are 
so called from their attachment to St. George, the tutelary 
saint of these countries. 

t In this Dr. Mosheim is supported by RiifTinus, Socrates, 
and others; yet Thomas a Jtsu says, that they were con- 
verted to the Christian faith by St. George, whose picture 
ihey still carry in their standards.— iJe Conv. Omn. Gent. 
p. 410. 


Mohammedan dominion has been established in 
these countries, that they can scarcely be ranked 
in the number of Christians. 

Such, in a more especial manner, is the deprav- 
ed state of the Mingrelians^* who wander about in 
the woods and mountains, and lead a savage and 
undisciplined life; for, among the Georgians^ or 
Iberians J there are yet some remains of religion, 
morals, and humanity. 

Each of these nations has a pontiff at their head, 
whom they call The Catholic,-\ who is obliged to 
pay a certain tribute to the patriarch of Constanti- 
tinople, but is, in every other respect, independent 
on any foreign jurisdiction. They have also 
bishopsj and priests; but these spiritual rulers, 
says Dr. Mosheim, " are a dishonour to Christi- 
anity, by their ignorance, avarice, and profligacy ; 
they surpass almost the populace in the corruption 
of their manners, and, grossly ignorant themselves 
of the truths and principles of religion, they never 

* The Mingrelians are said to have been converted to 
the Christian faith by the preaching of St. Matthias ; but, 
according to Brereivood, by Cyrillus and Methodius, mini- 
sters of the patriarch of Constantinople. — Enquiries, p. 165, 

t R. Simon observes, on the authority of Father Avita- 
bolis^s letter to Pope Urban VIII., that " it is not the Ca- 
tholic of the Georgians who is the chief in spiritual affairsj 
but the prince, who is supreme both in spirituals and tem- 
porals." — Crit. Hist. p. 68. 

\ " Georgiani in octodecim Episcopatus distributi, qui 
uni Catholico seu PatriarchjE parent."—Chytr. de statu Ec- 
cles. p. 22". 


entertain the least thought of instructing the peo- 
ple. If, therefore, it be affirmed, that the Georgi- 
ans and Mingre/ians, at tliis day, are neither at- 
tached to the opinions of the Monophysites^ nor to 
those of the Nestorians^ but embrace the doctrine 
of the Greek church, this must be affirmed rather 
in consequence of probable conjecture, than of cer- 
tain knowledge, since it is impossible almost to 
know, with any degree of precision, what are the 
sentiments of a people who seem to be in the 
thickest darkness. Any remains of religion that 
are observable among them, are entirely compre- 
hended in certain sacred festivals and external ce- 
remonies, of which the former are celebrated, and 
the latter are performed, without the least appear- 
ance of decency ; so that the priests administer the 
sacraments of baptism and of the Lord's supper 
with as little respect and devotion as if they were 
partaking of an ordinary repast."* Yet Richard 
Simon, in his Critical History of the ReligioJis and 
Customs of the Eastern JVations,^ endeavours to 
remove, at least, a part of the reproach under 
which the Georgians and Mingrelians labour on ac- 
count of their supposed ignorance and corruption. 

Mr. Broughton observes, that the religious of 
Georgia^ both monks and nuns, follow the rule of 

* Ecclea. Hist. vol. iv. pp. 256-7, where, see the works 
to which he refers. 

t Ch. 5. and 6. — Speaking of this work of Father Simon, 
Dr. Mosheim remarks, that it " often wants correction"—^ 
£ccl. Hist. vol. iv. p. 257, note (h) edit. 1806. 


St. Basil ; — that the Georgian women, in general, 
are better instructed, and understand their religion 
better than the men, because there are more mo- 
nasteries of women than of men; the Georgians 
being instructed in the principles of Christianity 
chiefly in the monasteries, where they leam to read 
and write ; and that, after the nuns are professed, 
and arrived at a certain age, " tliey are permitted 
to baptise, and even to apply the holy oils.''* 

Of the Mingrelian religious, he obsei-ves, tliat 
they are called by the natives Beres; — that they 
are not cloistered, but may quit the religious life 
whenever they please ; that the monks are habit- 
ed, like laymen, with this difference, that they let 
their hair and beards grow, which the others do 
not; and that the nuns, who are of different sorts, 
are dressed, like those of Georgia, in black, and 
cover tlieii' heads with a black veil.f 

* For this account he has the authority, of M. Taver- 
nier^ 1. iii. cap. 9. p. 124. 

t Historical JAbrary. Or see his authority, Hist, des 
Ord Relig torn. i. c. 21. Since writing the above, I have 
observed that Georgia&nA Mingrelia were ceded to Russia in 
1800 ; and, if so, these churches now probably make a part 
of the Russian church. 








Divisions and Subdivisions. — The East- 
em Christians, who renounce the communion of 
the Greek Church, and differ from it in some re- 
spects, both in doctrine and worship, may be com- 
prehended under two distinct classes. 

To the former belong the Monophysites^ so call- 
ed (from /«ovoc, soluSj and <?>uo-/?, natura\ because 
they declare it as their opinion, that in the Saviour 
of the world there is only one 7iature; while the 

VOL. I. 3 G 


latter comprehends the followers of Nestorius, pa- 
triarch of Constantinople in the fifth century, fre- 
quently called ChaldceanSy from the country where 
they principally reside, but more generally known 
by the name of Nestoriansy and who suppose " that 
there are two distinct persons or natures in the Son 
of God.''* 

The Monophysites are subdivided into two sects 
or parties ; the one Asiatic, including the Jacobites 
and Armenians ; and the other African^ compre- 
hending the Copts and Abyssinians, 

And, in the class of Nestorians, are to be in- 
cluded the St. Thome Christians, or Christians of 
St. Thomas^ on the coast of Malabar. 

* MosHEtM, vol. iv. p. 257, 




The Monophy sites first made their appear- 
ance in the fifth century, and Jacob Albardai, or 
Barad(Eus^ as he is called by others, who flourished 
about A. D. 530, restored the sect, then almost 
expiring, to its former vigour, and modelled it 
anew ; hence they were called Jacobites from him. 

This denomination is commonly used in an ex- 
tensive sense, as comprehending all the Monophy- 
sites^ excepting the Armenians; it however more 
strictly and properly belongs only to the Asiatic 
Monophysites^ of which Jacob Albardai was the 
restorer and the chief; and, as these differ in some 
points from the Copts and Abyssinians, I here pro- 
pose to consider the Jacobites in this last sense, 
as limited by Dr. M'Laine.* 

The Monophysites had at first gained over to 
their doctrine a considerable part of the eastern 

* Dr. Mosheim's EccL Hist. yol. iv. p. 257, no^e (h.) 


provinces of the empire, and were ^varmly support- 
ed by the emperor Anastasius, who raised to the 
patriarchate of Antioch, Severus, a learned monk 
of Palestine, from w hom they were for some time 
called Severians. But on the death of the empe- 
ror in 518, Severus was expelled from that see, 
and the sect was every where opposed and de- 
pressed by Justin and the follox\ing emperors, in 
such a manner that it seemed to be upon the very 
brink of ruin, and almost all hope of its recovery 
vanished; when Jacob Si/rus, or Zatizalus* for so 
he is also surnamed, an obscure monk, by his zeal 
and prudence, re^ ived the diooping spirits of the 
Monophysites, and produced such an astonishing 
change in their affairs by the power of his elo- 
quence, and by his incredible activity and dili- 
gence, that when he died bishop of Edessa, in 588, 
he left his sect in a most flourishing state in Syria, 
Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and other countries, 
where they have subsisted and flourished, more or 
less, to the present day.f 

The head of the Jacobites is the Jacobite pa- 
triarch of Antiochy who, from the fifteenth century 
downwards, has always taken the name of Igna- 
tius, witli a view to shew that he is the lineal 

• " Genere Syrus, — homo obsciirus, qui propter suam 
tcnuitateni cognominatus est Zanzalus." 

FoRBESii a Corse 0/iera, vol. ii. p. 107. 

t " They are not in all at most above forty, or five-and- 
forty thousand families." 

Father Simon's Crit. Hist. chap. ix. p. 106. 


successor of St. Ignatius, who was bishop of An- 
tioch in the first century, and consequently the 
lawful patriarch of Antioch. 

He resides, for the most part, in the monastery 
of St. Ananias, which is situated near the city of 
Merd'm, in Mesopotamia, and sometimes at Mer- 
din, his episcopal seat, as also at Amida, otherwise 
named Cararmt, Aleppo, and other Syrian towns. 

The government of this prelate was too exten- 
sive, even before the death of Jacob, and the 
chiu"ches over which he presided too numerous, to 
admit of his performing himself all the duties of 
his high office ; and therefore the latter gave a part 
of the administiation of the pontificate to a kind of 
colleague, who is called the Maphrian or Primate 
of the East, and whose doctrine and discipline are 
said to be adopted by the Jacobite Christians be- 
yond the Tigris. This primate used formerly to 
reside at Taiiris, or Tagritis, on the borders of 
Armenia; but his present habitation is the monas- 
tery of St. Matthew, which is in the neighbour- 
hood of Mousiil, a city of Mesopotamia. 

In the seventeenth century, a small body of the 
Jacobites abandoned, for some time, the doctrine 
and institutions of their ancestors, and embraced 
the communion of the church of Rome. This 
step was owing to the- suggestions and intrigues of 
Andreiv Achigian, who had been educated at 
Rome, where he imbibed the principles of Pope- 


ry ; and, having obtained the title and dignity of 
patriarch from the Roman Pontiff, assumed the 
denomination of Ignatius the XXIV. After the 
deatli of this pretended patriarch, another usurper, 
whose name was Peter, aspired to the same digni- 
ty, and taking the title of Ignatius XXV. placed 
himself in the patriarchal chair ; but the lawful pa- 
triarch of the sect had credit enough with the 
Turks to procure the deposition and banishment 
of this pretender : and thus the small congregation 
which acknowledged his jurisdiction, was entirely 

Since then, the Jacobites have ever persevered 
in their refusal to enter into the communion of the 
Church of Rome, notwithstanding the earnest en- 
treaties and alluring offers that have been made, 
from time to time, by the Pope's legates, to con- 
quer their inflexible constancy. 

We are likewise told, that they propagate their 
doctrine in Asia with zeal and assiduity, and have 
not long ago gained over to their communion a 
part of the Nestorians who inhabit the maritime 
coasts of India.* 

* Dr. Mosheim's Eccl. IMst. \o\. vi. p. 18. 






About the orthography and etymon of this 
word, critics are much divided ; some write Coph- 
ti, or Coptly others Cophtites^ Cophtita, Sec. Scali- 
ger and Father Simon derive the name from Cop- 
tos, once a celebrated town of Egypt, and the me- 
tropolis of the Thebaid; but M. Volney and otliers 
are of opinion, that the name of Copts is only an ab- 
breviation of the Greek word Aigouptios^ an Egyp- 
tian.* Be this as it may, the name has long been 
used to comprehend all the Christians in Egypt, 
who do not belong to the Greek Churchy but are 
Monophysites, and in most respects Jacobites. 
Some families of Copts are to be found in the 
Delta; but they chiefly inhabit the Said, or Upper 
Egypt, where, in some instances, they occup)' 
whole villages. History and tradition attest 
their descent from the people whom the Arabs 

* It is called in Arabic el Kobt. See the Encycl. Brit. 
under the word Cofiti ; and Volney's Travels, vol. i. p. 
53. Edit. 1801. See ^so Brekewood's Enquiries, chap. 


conquered, i. e. from that mixture of Egyptians, 
Persians, and particularly Greeks, who, under the 
Ptolemies and Constantines, were so long masters 
of Egypt. 

The gospel was preached early in Egypt ; tra- 
dition says by St. Mark, and the patriarch of 
Alexandria is still considered successor to St. 
Mark there, as the Pope is to St. Peter at Rome. 
Before the incursions of the Saracens, the vulgar 
tongue of the Egyptians was called Coptic; but, 
since the sixteenth century, the Arabic is generally 
spoken in Egyj5t. The Christian liturgy is how- 
ever said to be still in Coptic, though " the priests 
understand little of it; get prayers by heart, and 
pray without understanding."* The Cophts are 
said to be very fond of the bustle of rites and cere- 
mionies that succeed each other with rapidity. They 
are always in motion during the time of service : the 
officiating priest, particularly, is in continual motion, 
incensing, the saints, pictures, books, &.c. every 
moment ; and they have many monasteries where 
the monks bury themselves from society in remote 
solitudes.-f Their nunneries are properly hospitals ; 

* Dr. Hey's J^or. Led. vol. i. p. 55. See also Pic art, 
vol. i. p. 153. 

t Travels in Egyfit by Sonnini, who says that the church- 
service of this denomination is performed in Arabic, and 
modern Coptic : the gospel is read in Arabic, t4iat all may 
understand it. Father Vansleb also asserts, that " the 
Cophts say the mass in Arabic, all but the Epistles and 
Gospels, which they rehearse both in that and Cophtic.^'^^ 
Encycl. Brit, as above. 


and few enter them but widows reduced to beg- 
gar}^ They have a patriarch, whose jurisdiction 
extends over both Egpyts, Nubia, and Abyssinia, 
and who resides at Cairo, but he takes his tide 
from Alexandria. He has eleven or twelve bishops 
under him, besides the Abuna, or bishops of the 
Abyssinians, whom he nominates and consecrates.* 

The rest of the clergy, whether secular or regu- 
lar, is composed of the orders of St. Anthony^ St. 
Paul, and St. Macarius, who have each their mo- 
nasteries. Both their archpriests, who are next in 
degree to bishops, and their deacons, are said to 
be numerous ; and they often confer the order of 
deacon even on children. Next to the patriarch is 
the bishop or titular patriarch of Jerusalem, who 
also resides at Cairo, because there are but few 
Copts at Jerusalem; he is, in effect, little more 
than the bishop of Cairo, except that he goes to 
Jerusalem every Easter, and visits some other 
places in Palestine near EgyjDt, which o\w\ his ju- 
risdiction. To him belongs the government of the 
Coptic church, during the vacancy of the patriachal 
see. The ecclesiastics are said to be in general of 
the lowest ranks of the people, and hence that 
great degree of ignorance that prevails among 

* The bishops subject to the Cc'ptic Patriarch of Alex- 
andria are those — Oi JerusaLem, Belmese^ Atjih, Fiuni, Mo- 
harraki Monffallot, S/Jut, Mutig, Girgium, .Yegade on 
Qirge, and lastly, the Metropolitan of Abyssinia. — Father 
Simon's Crit. Hist. p. 117. 

VOL. I. 3 H 


them. The patriarch makes a short discourse to 
the priests once a-year ; and the latter read Homi- 
lies, or rather legends, from the pulpit on great fes- 
tivals, but seldom preach.* It is likewise said 
that they read the gospel of Nicodemiis in their 
church service. They have seven sacraments, 
viz. Baptism^ tlie Eucharist^ Cojijirmation, Ordi- 
Jiatiofi, Faiths Fastings and Prayer; so that, al- 
though the number of their sacraments be the 
same with that of the Greeks, several of them are 
different from theirs ; but their ceremonies are in 
many respects the same. They allow of only 
three Oecumenical councils, viz. those of AVce, 
Constantinople^ and Ephesus; and they circumcise 
their children before baptism, a custom which 
seems to have prevailed among them ever since 
the twelfth century ; but some deny that circumci- 
sion is practised by tliem as a ceremony of religion, 
or as of any div ine appointment, but merely as a 
custom which they deri\ e from the Ishmaelites. 
Others are of opinion, that it is now wholly, or in 
a great measure, disused. 

The Copts observe four Lents with the Greeks 
and most Eastern Christians ; but it is said, both 
by Brere\\ood and Ross, that thev do not keep the 

* " They have a boo'.i of Homilies taken out of the Chief 
Fathers, of whicli they read somewhat after the reading of 
the gospel; and that serves as an explication or paraphrase 
upon the aume gospel, so that there is no need of preachers 
to instruct them." — rATiiKR Simon's Crit. Jlist. chap. x. 
p. 118. 


Lord's day ; an assertion this ^hich surely ought 
not to be admitted without the strongest proof. 

Indeed, in regard to the accounts given us by 
these two authors of the Eastern Christians in gene- 
ral, it may be remarked, as of Father Simon's work 
just quoted, that they sometimes " want correction." 

There are three Coptic Liturgies ; one attributed 
to St. Basil, another to St. Gregory, and the third 
to St. Cyril; they are translated into Arabic for the 
use of the clergy and people, and an edition of 
them in Latin was given by F. Kircher in the cen- 
tury before last.* 


As greater error in regard to religion no where 
prevailed than in Egypt before the Christian asra, 
so no country ever exhibited more sincere or 
greater Christian piet}' than Egypt, and tlie north 
of Africa in general, for the first three ages of the 
church. We read of synods of 200 bishops as- 
sembled there ; of 164 bishops under one metropo- 
litan, in one province alone, viz. Zengitana, where 
Carthage stood ; and of some hundreds of bishops 
expelled from thence by Gensericus, king of the 
Vandals.f And whereas, in times of persec\'tion, 
the Christians of various other countries were apt 

* They have also been published tog:=!ther with those of 
the Syrian Jacobites, and the Aliyssinians,, with learned ob- 
servations, by Renaudot., in the first and second volumes of 
his Liturgiae Orientales. 

t The fourth and sixth councils of Carthage. Vict.Lib.i. 
JDe persecutione Vandalic. 


to return to idolatry, the Africans were kept in the 
true religion, by the blessing of God, on the zeal 
and diligence of St. Cyprian, Arnobius, Tertullian, 
Origen, St. Augustine, and other able and pious 
men in that quarter of the world. 

But now, how amazing the change ! little more 
than the mere shadow of Christianity can be seen 
in Egypt, and, in point of numbers, there are not to 
be founci there more than 50,000 Christians in all.* 

" The denomination of Copts,*' says Dr. Mo- 
sheim, " comprehends all those Christians who 
dwell in Egypt, Nubia, and the country adjacent, 
and whose condition is truly deplorable. Oppress- 
ed by the insatiable avarice and tyranny of the 
Turks, they draw out their Avi'etched days in mi- 
sery and want, and are unable to support either 
their patriarch or their bishops. These are not, 
however, left entirely destitute ; since they are, in 
a manner, maintained by the liberality of those 
Copts, w ho, on account of their capacity in house- 
hold affairs, and their dexterity in the exercise of 
several manual arts, highly useful, though entirely 

* Ross's View^ p. 67, where he observes, that " there 
are not above three Christian churches at Alexandria, and 
so many at Cairo." 

On the other hand, Lithgow, who wrote about the be- 
ginning of the seventeenth century says, that " of Greeks, 
Copts, Armenians, and others, there are about 200,000 
Christians in the city of Cairo" alone ; but I am inclined 
to believe that this calculation is by far too high. ^—Travels, 
p. 307. 


unknown to the Turks, have gained admittance 
into the principal Mahometan famihes.''*" 

The internal state of the Coptic Church, both 
with respect to doctrine and worship, is described 
by Father JFansleb or Vansleb^ in his " Histoire de 
PEglise cP Alexaiidrie^ que nous appellons celle de 
Jacobites Copies ^ published at Paris in 1667; and 
in his '• Relation d''un voyage en Egypte^^ p. 293, 
there is a particular account of the Coptic monaste- 
ries and religious orders.f 

* Eccles. Hist. vol. iv. pp. 258-9. But, with all due defe- 
rence to this very learned, and, in general, very correct, 
historian, the denomination of Cofits may rather be consi- 
dered as comprehending only a fiart of the Christians in 
Egypt ; for those subject to the Greek patriarch of Alexan- 
dria are not called Cofits or Monophysites, but Greeks, and 
are of the Greek Church. — In like manner, M. Du Pin and 
others call the members of the Greek Church by the ge- 
neral term of Melchites ; whereas the Melchites are rather, 
or were only, those Christians in Syria, Egypt, and the Le- 
vant, who followed the doctrines and ceremonies of the 
Greek Church, but were not themselves Greeks. 

t See the other works referred to in Dr. Mosheim's 
Eccles. Hist, as above, (note) p. 259. 






AS to the Abyssinian Christians, they surpass 
considerably the Copts, both in their numbers, their 
power, and their opulence ; nor will this appear sur- 
prising, when it is considered that they live under 
the dominion of at least a «o?;2?'«g!/ Christian Empe- 
ror. They, nevertheless, consider the Coptic Alex- 
andrian pontiff as their spiritual parent and chief, 
and, instead of choosing their own bishop, receive 
from that prelate a primate^ whom they call Abuna^ 
(i. e. our father) and, according to some, Catholic, 
whom they acknowledge as their ghostly ruler, and 
who, as well as the patriarch himself, is generally of 
the order of St. Anthony.^ But the emperor has 

* "All the patriarchs, and other bishops of the East, are 
\Tionks of the orders either of St. Basil ov St. jinthony ; for 
the piviiiarchs of Constantinople, of Antiochia, and of Ar- 
menia, are monks of St. Basil's order. The patriarchs of 


a kind of supremacy in ecclesiastical matters. He 
alone takes cognisance of all ecclesiastical causes, 
except some smaller ones reserved to the judges ; 
and he confers all benefices, except that of the ./i^wwa. 

The first conversion of the Abyssinians, or inha- 
bitants of Ethiopia Superior^ to Christianity, is at- 
tributed by some to the famous prime minister of 
their queen Candace, mentioned in the 8th chap, of 
the Acts of the Apostles; but however that may be, 
it is probable that the general conversion of that 
great empire was not perfected before the middle 
of the fourth century, when Frumentius^ son of a 
Tyrian merchant, consecrated bishop of Axuma^ 
by Athanasius, exercised his ministry among them 
with the most astonishing success. They were 
esteemed a pure church before they embraced the 
sentiments of the Monophysites in the seventh cen- 
turj^, or sooner; and Dr. M'Laine ventures to say, 
that " even since that period, they are still a purer 
church than that of Rome.'^f 

They differ but very little from the Copts, and 

Alexandria, of ^Ethiopia, of the Jacobites, and of the Ma- 
ronites, are of St. Anthomf s ; and the patriarch of the Nes- 
torians either of both." — Brerkwood's Enquiries^ pp 

* Then the capital of that country ; whence the Abassines 
or Ethiopians were called Jxumitx. 

t Dr. Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. vol. v. p. 140, note (t.) 
On the contrary, the editors of the Encycl. Brit, tell us, 
and, I believe, with more truth, " that little beside the name 
of Christianity is to be found among them"— =Art. Abyssi- 
nia^ p. 32. 


receive the scriptures of the Old and New Testa- 
ment as the onl}- rule of their faith, together with 
the three first councils, the Nicene Creed,* and the 
Apostolical Constitutions. They also " admit the 
Apocryphal books, and the canons of tlie apostles, 
for genuine. "t 

They boast themseh es to be of Jewish extrac- 
tion, and pretend to imitate the service of the Ta- 
bernacle and Temple of Jerusalem ; so that their 
doctrines and ritual form a strange compound of 
Judaism, Christianity, and superstition. They 
practise circumcision, and are said to extend the 
practice to females as well as males. — They ob- 
serve both Saturday and Sunday Sabbaths, and eat 
no meats prohibited by the law of Moses. They 
pull off their shoes before they enter their churches, 
and sit upon the bare floor, and their divine service 
is said wholly to consist in reading the Scriptures, 
administering the Eucharist, and hearing some ho- 
milies of the Fathers. They read the whole of the 
four Evangelists every year in their churches, be- 
ginning with St. Matthew, and then proceeding to 
St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, in order; and 
when they speak of any event, they say " It hap- 
pened in the days of St. Matthew," i. e. while 

* Mr. Broughton says, but without giving his autliorily, 
that " tliey are not acquainted willi the Ajiostlen' Creed." — 
Ilisiorical Lib. vol. ii. p. 331. 

Dr. Hurd makes the same observation, perhaps on the 
authority of Mr. B. 

t Encxjcl. Brit. art. Abyssinia; where see their tenets 
more fully detailed. 


they were readuig St. Matthew's Gospel in their 

They pray for the dead, have a great veneration 
for the Virgin Mary, invoke saints and angels, and 
have at least as many miracles and legends of saints 
as the Church of Rome. With the Greeks, they 
venerate images in painting, but they abhor all those 
in relievo^ except the cross : a\ ith them likewise, 
they have four Lents, of which the greatest com- 
mences ten days earlier than ours, and is observed 
with much severity; many abstaining, during it, 
even from fish, " because St. Paul says, there is 
one kind of flesh of men and another of jislies.^^\ 
As they have no bishops but the Abiina, they have, 
instead of them, an order of men whom they style 
Komos, or Hegumenas^ who preside over the priests. 
— Every parochial church has one of these, who is 
a kind of arch-presbyter, and has all the inferior 
priests and deacons, as well as the secular affairs of 
the parish, under his care and government. The 
office of the inferior priests is to supply that of the 
Komos in their absence, and, when present, to as- 
sist them in divine service. They have another 
order of ecclesiastics called Debtans^ who are a 
kind of Jewish Levites, or chanters, and assist at 
the public offices of the church. All these orders 
are allowed to marry, even after they have been 

* Encycl. Brit. — Broughton's Hist. Libr. and Mr. 
Bruce's Travels^ p. 145. 

t Encycl. Brit. , , . 1 Cor. xv. 39. 
VOL. I. 3 1 


ordained priests; and, which is more singular, some 
e\ en of their religious orders or monks, wjio are 
numerous, are allowed the same privilege, but 
those who observe celibacy are commonly in greater 

A full and circumstantial account of tlie religion 
of the Abyssinians may be seen in the Theologia 
^thiopica of Gregory the Abyssinian, published 
by Fabricius, in his ^'- Lux Evangelii toti Orbi ex- 
oriens^^^ p. 716, where there is also a list of all the 
writers who have given accounts of the Abyssinians. 

A Confession of their Faidi was published by 
Zaga Zaboy an Ethiopian bishop, or, perhaps, only 
a Komos, who was sent into Portugal by the empe- 
ror David, in the beginning of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. See also their Liturgy, in the 6th vol. of the 
Bibliotheca Patrum; or, in Portuguese, by F. Al- 
verez^ chaplain to King John of Portugal, who re- 
sided six years in Ethiopia, and wrote the history 
of tliat country. This liturgy was afterwards trans- 
lated into Italian, and an abstract of it may be seen 
in English, in Dr. Pagitfs Christianography.-\ 

* Modern Univ. Hist. vol. xv. pp. !45 — 149, and 157. 

t P 102, &c. Their liturgy is not in thevultjar tongue, 
bpt in the Old Eihio/iic, which is said to have a great affinity 
ID the Hebrew and Chaldec, 



Thus these Monophysites, both Asiatic and 
African, differ from other Cliristian societies, M^ie- 
ther of the Greek or Latin communion, and from 
each other, in several points, both of doctrine and 
worship ; though the principal reason of their sepa- 
ration lies in the opinion which they entertain con- 
cerning the nature and person of Jesus Christ. 
Following the doctrine of Dioscorus, Barsuma, 
Xenias, Fullo^ and others, whom they consider as 
the heads, or chief ornaments of their sect, they 
maintain that in Christ the divine and human na- 
ture vvere reduced into one, and consequently re- 
ject both the decrees of the council of Chalcedony 
and the famous letter of Leo the Great. 

That, however, they may not seem to have the 
least inclination toAvards the doctrine of Eutyches^ 
which they profess to reject \vith the most ardent 
zeal, they propose their own system with the ut- 
most caution and circumspection, and hold the fol- 
lowing obscure principles : — that the two natures 
are united in Christ without either confusion or 
mixture ; so that though the nature of our Saviour 
be really one^ yet it is at the same time two-fold 
and compound. By this declaration, it appears, 
that those who look upon the difference between 
the Monophysites and the Greek and Latin 
churches, rather as a dispute about xvords, than 


things^ are not so far mistaken as some have ima- 
gined. The truth is, that the terms used by the 
Monoph}'sites are something more than equivocal ; 
they are contradictory. It may also be observed, 
that those \vho pretend to hold a middle path be- 
tween the doctrines of JVestorius and Eutychcs, 
were greatly embarrassed, as it was almost impos- 
sible to oppose the one, without adopting, or at 
least appearing to adopt, the other. — But, be that 
as it may, " both the Asiatic and African Mono- 
physites of the present times are, generally speak- 
ing, so deeply sunk in ignorance, that their attach- 
ment to the doctrine by which they are distinguish- 
ed from other Christian societies, is rather founded 
on their own obstinacy, and on the authority of 
their ancestors, than on any other circumstance ; 
nor do they even pretend to appeal, in its behalf, 
to reason and argument.''* 

Unsuccessful Attempts of the Church 
OF Rome to Convert them. — Thus situated, 
the votaries of Rome might well suppose that the 
Monophysites would become an easy prey, and be 
readily brought under the papal yoke; and they 
seem to have been no less indefatigable in attempt- 
ing the subjection of the African Monophysites, 
than of those in Asia. The Portuguese having 
opened a passage into the country of the Abyssi- 
nians in the fifteenth century, this was thought to 
be a favourable occasion for extending the in- 

* Dr. Mosheim's Eccl. Hint, vol. iv. pp. 262-3. 


fluence and authority of the Roman pontiff. Ac- 
cordingly, John Bermudes was sent into Ethiopia 
for this purpose ; and, that he might appear with a 
certain degree of dignit)% he was clothed with the 
title of Patriarch of the Abyssinians. The same 
important commission was afterwards given to se- 
veral Jesuits; and, at first, several circumstances 
seemed to promise them a successful and happy 
ministiy. But the event did not answer this fond 
expectation, for the Abyssinians stood so firm to 
the faith of their ancestors, that towards the end of 
the sixteenth century, the Jesuits had almost lost 
all hopes of succeeding in that quarter. 

The attention of the Romanists was next direct- 
ed to the Copts; and, in 1562, Christopher Rodericy 
a Jesuit of note, was sent by Pope Pius IV. to 
propagate the cause of Popery among tliat people. 
But this ecclesiastic, notwithstanding the rich pre- 
sents and subtle arguments by which he attempted 
to change the sentiments and shake the constancy 
of Gabriel, the Coptic patriarch, returned to Rome, 
with no other effect of his embassy than fair 
words, and a few compliments. Towards the 
end of the same century, and during the pontificate 
of Clement the VIII., an embassy from Gabriel, 
another Coptic patriarch of Alexandria, appeared 
at Rome, and was considered as a subject of tri- 
umph and boasting by the creatures of the Pope ; 
but the more candid and sensible, even of the Ro- 
manists, looked upon this embassy as merely a 
stratagem of the Jesuits, with a view to induce the 
Abyssinians to follow the pretended example of 


that patriarch, to whom they are accustomed to 
look up with respect and veneration. One thing, 
however, is certain, that, notwithstanding that ig- 
norance and poverty which must expose the Copts 
to the seductions of sophistry and gain, they have 
all along stood firm to their principles ; and, from 
that time to the present day, have ever made an 
obstinate resistance to all the promises, presents, 
and attempts, that have been employed by the pa- 
pal missionaries to bring them under the Roman 

About the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
the Portuguese Jesuits renewed the mission to 
Abyssinia, under the most auspicious encourage- 
ment; for the emperor Susfieins, alias Sdtam Se- 
guicl, took diem under his protection, created one 
of them, Alphonso Mendez, patriarch of the Abys- 
sinians, and not only swore allegiance to the Ro- 
man pontiff in 1626, but also obliged his subjects 
to forsake the rites and tenets of their ancestors, 
and to embrace the doctrine and worship of the 
Romish Church. 

But the nexv patriarch ruined, by his intempe- 
rate zeal, imprudence, and arrogance, the cause in 
which he had embarked, and soon occasioned the 
total subversion of the Roman pontiff's authority 
and jurisdiction, A\hich had at length been esta- 
blished upon solid foundations. So exasperated 
was the monarch at the violent proceedings of 
Mendez and his brethren, that in 1631 he annul- 
led the orders he had formerly given in favour of 


Popery; and his son Basilides, in 1634, banished 
them, together with all Europeans connected with 
the mission, from his dominions, treating them 
with the greatest rigour and severit}\ From this 
period the very name of Rome, its religion, and its 
pontiif, have all along been objects of peculiar 
aversion among the Abyssinians; every art that 
the Romanists have since then fallen upon, and 
every attempt they have made to recover the foot- 
ing they had thus lost in Abyssinia, have hitherto 
proved unsuccessful; nor have the pontiffs, or 
their votaries, been as yet able to calm the resent- 
ment of that exasperated nation, or to conquer its 
aversion to the worship and jurisdiction of the 
Church of Rome. So groundless is the assertion, 
that the emperor of Abyssinia embraced the com- 
munion of Rome in 1712, having previously made 
offer of his submission to Pope Clement the XI., 
that, so lately as about the middle of last century, 
" the edict prohibiting all Europeans to enter into 
Ethiopia, was still in force, and was executed 
with the greatest severity. Even the Turks are 
included in this prohibition; and, what is still 
more remarkable, the Egyptian Monophysites, 
who have once entered witliin tlie Abyssinian terri- 
tories, are not allowed to return into their own 

* Dr. Mosheim's £ccl. Hist, vol v. p. 143, note (x) 
where see more on this subject. 




It appears highly probable, that both the 
Greater and the Lesser Armenia were enlightened 
with the knowledge of the truth in the first centu- 
ry, or early in the second; but the Armenian 
church was not completely formed till the begin- 
ning of the fourth, when Gregory^ the son of Anax^ 
who is commonly called the Eiilightener, from his 
having dispelled the dai'kness of the Armenian su- 
perstitions, coa\'erted to Christianity Tiridates, 
king of Armenia, and all the nobles of his court.*- 

In consequence of this, Gregory was consecrat- 
ed bishop of the Armenians, by Leontms^ bishop 
of Cappadocia, and his ministry was crowned with 

* If, in regard to the time of Gregory's preaching in 
Arnienia, I have differed widely from the Armenians 
themselves, (see below, p. 456,) I can only say, that I 
have followed the learned and judicious Dr. Mosheim, 
(vol. i. p. 337,) who certainly had no interest in antedating 
their Christianity. 


such success, that the whole province was soon 
converted to the Christian faith. 

From that period Armenia has undergone so 
many revolutions, that it must appear more re- 
markable that the Armenians should still perse- 
vere in the Christian faith, than that they should 
deviate in many particulars from the original doc- 
trines of their church. They no longer exist col- 
lectively as a nation, once famous for the wealth 
and luxury of its monarchs ; but successively con- 
quered by, and alternately subject to, the Turks, 
Tartars, and Persians, they have preserved only 
their native language, (and even it is disused at 
Constantinople,) and the remembrance of their an- 
cient kingdom. Dispersed over all Asia, and va- 
rious parts of Europe, they exert their natural ge- 
nius for trade, principally in speculations as mo- 
ney-changers ; and individuals, who gain immense 
property, prefer living peaceably in Constantino- 
ple, to returning into tlieir own country. Like 
the Jews, they suffer under a foreign dominion, 
and are forced to fly far from their homes and the 
tombs of their ancestors, to escape a tjTanny by 
which most of their country has been oppressed 
by the Turks since the reign of Selitn the II., in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century. 

The state of the Armenian church underwent a 
considerable change early in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, in consequence of the incursions of Abbas 
the Great, king of Persia, into Armenia. This 

VOL. I. 3 K 


prince, to prevent the Turks from approaching 
to his frontier, laid waste all that part of Armenia 
that lay contiguous to his dominions, and ordered 
the inhabitants to retire into Persia. And, in the 
general emigration that ensued, the more opulent 
and better sort of the Armenians removed to Is- 
pahan, the capital of Persia, where the generous 
monarcli granted them a beautiful suburb for their 
residence, with the free exercise of their religion. 
During the whole of his reign, these happy exiles 
experienced the most liberal treatment, and enjoy- 
ed the sweets of liberty and abundance ; but after 
his death the scene changed ; his successors were 
not equally generous, persecution ensued, and the 
Armenian church declined daily both in credit and 
in numbers. " The storm of persecution that 
arose upon them, shook their constancy ; many of 
them apostatised to the Mohammedan religion, so 
that it M as justly to be feared that this branch of 
the Armenian church would gradually perish. On 
the other hand, the state of religion in that church 
derived considerable advantages from the settle- 
ment of a vast number of Annenians in different 
parts of Europe, for the purposes of commerce. 
These merchants, who had fixed their residence, 
during this century, at London, Amsterdam, Mar- 
seilles, and Venice, were not unmindful of the in- 
terests of religion in their native country. And 
their situation furnished them with favourable op- 
portunities of exercising their zeal in this good 
cause, and particularly of supplying their Asiatic 
brethren with Armenian translations of th& Hoi}' 


Scriptures, and other theological books, from the 
European presses, especially from those of Eng- 
land and Holland. These pious and instructive 
productions, being dispersed among the Arme- 
nians who lived under the Persian and Turkish 
governments, contributed, no doubt, to preserve 
that illiterate and superstitious people from fall- 
ing into the most consummate and deplorable ig- 

Distinguishing Doctrines. — The Arme- 
nian was considered as a branch of the Greek 
Church, professing the same faith, and acknow- 
ledging the same subjection to the see of Constan- 
tinople, till near the middle of the sixth century, 
when the heresy of the Moiiophysites spread faf 
and wide through Africa and Asia, comprehend- 
ing the Armenians also among its votaries. But, 
though the members of this church still agree 
with the other Monophysites in the main doctrine 
of that sect relating to the unity of the divine and 
human nature in Christ, they differ from them in 
so many points of faith, worship, and discipline, 
that they do not hold communion with that branch 
of the Monophysites who are Jacobites in the more 

* Dr. Mosheim's EccL Hist. vol. v. pp. 261-2. Many 
religious books, principally Bibles, Liturgies, and the bea- 
tific visions of their saints, have also been printed at Ve- 
nice and Constantinople. In 1704, the Acts of the Apos- 
tles were translated into Armenian verse by Cos7}io di Car- 
bognano ; and in 1737 they printed St. Chrysostom's " Com- 
mentary on St. John^" at Constantinople, where the Arme- 
.Tiian press is still employed. 


limited sense of that term; nor, I believe, with 
either the Copts or the Abyssinians. 

Sir P. Ricaut, whose long residence, both at 
Constantinople and Smyrna, enabled him to ac- 
quire information in regard to the religious system 
of the Armenians, gives the following statement of 
the doctrines of their church : — 

" They allow and accept the articles of faith ac- 
cording to the council of Nice^ and are also ac- 
quainted with the Apostles' Creed, which they 
have in use. As to the Trinity^ they accord with 
the Greeks, acknowledging three persons in one 
divine nature, and that the Holy Ghost proceeds 
only from the Father." " They believe that 
Christ descended into hell, and that he freed the 
souls of all the damned from thence, by the grace 
and favour of his glorious presence, but not for 
ever, or by a plenary pardon or remission, but only 
as reprieved until the end of the world, at which 
time they shall again be returned unto eternal 

He denies that this church is attached to the 
Eutychian or Monophysite heresy ; and, in support 
of this opinion, produces a translation of its Ta- 
vananh or Creed, containing the sum of the Arme- 
nian faith, which they teacli their children, and 
which is repeated by them in the course of divine 

* Present State of the Greek and jirmenian Churches^ pp 


service, in the same manner as the Apostles' 
Creed by us. But this insti-ument is far from 
being conclusive; and on tliis subject Sir P. de- 
parts from the general opinion ; yet as they do not 
seem to hold communion with any of the other 
branches of Monophysites, and in some things 
differ so widely from them, I have here introduced 
the Armenian Church as a separate and distinct 

M. Du Pin would insinuate, that the Armenians 
were reconciled to the church of Rome at the coun- 
cil of Florence^ in the middle of the fifteenth cen- 
tury; but if we attend to the learned and judicious 
Dr. Mosheim, the scheme of comprehension pro- 
jected in that council was completely frustrated, 
not only in regard to the Greek Church, but all the 
Oriental Churches.* 

It must, however, be acknowledged, that the sub- 
sequent attempts of the Roman missionaries on the 
faith of the Armenians, have not been altogether 
without success ; and that the French ambassador 
at Constantinople assembled the Armenian patri- 
arch and some of his bishops tliere in 1674, and 
without much difficulty procured from them a con- 
fession of their faith very agreeable to the sense of 
the Roman Church, f " Howsoever, I persuade 

* M. Du Pin's ^is?. of the Churcii,\o\. iv. 12mo. p. 161. 
Dr. Mosheim's EccL Hist. vol. iii. p. 426. 

t At the beginning of the last century also, the preach- 
ing of the Jesuit missionaries was so successful in the con- 
version of the Armenian citizens at Pera, that their bi- 


myself," says Sir P. Ricaut, " that were the parti- 
culars wherein there is any controversy between the 
church of England and that of Rome, well stated, 
according to the capacity of the Armenians, it 
would not be difficult to procure another confession, 
at least an explication of their doctrine, with little 
variety from that of the church of England, so little 
understanding have these people of controversies ;" 
"the which perhaps would be the sense," adds Sir 
P. " of most good Christians in the world, rvho laid 
aside all prepossessions to a party or tenet. ^^"^ 

The Armenians believe that neitlier the souls nor 
bodies of any saints or prophets departed this life, 
are in heaAcn, unless it be the blessed Virgin, and 
the prophet Elias. Yet, notwithstanding their opi- 
nion that the saints shall not be admitted into hea- 
ven until the day of judgment, " by a certain imi- 
tation of the Greek and Latin churches, they in- 
voke them with prayers, reverence and adore their 

shops applied to the Porte to procure their suppression, or 
at least tc restrain them, but without effect ; for when 
Efihraim the was telling the Visier of these en- 
croachments of the Roman Catholics, " And what," replied 
he, " are Roman Catholics but infidels ? if the hog be white, 
red, or black, it is nevertheless a hog ; we will not inter- 

* Pp. 451-2. — But this confession is not universally re- 
ceived by them ; and hence some of them will pretend to 
maintain transubstantialion, and other tenets of the church 
of Rome, and others will deny them, declaring that this 
epitome of their faith was subscribed by only a few of 
iheir bishops, and was extorted from them by threats and 


pictures or images, and bum lamps to them, and 
Candles. The saints which are commonly invoked 
by them, are all the prophets and apostles, likewise 
St. Silvester, St. Savorich, &c."* 

Worship, Rites, and Ceremonies. — • 
" Their manner of worship is performed after the 
Eastern fashion, by prostrating their bodies, and 
kissing the ground three times, (which the Turks 
likewise practise in their prayers.) At their first 
entrance into the church, they uncover their heads, 
and cross themselves three times, but afterwards 
cover their heads, and sit cross-legged on carpets, 
after the manner of the Turks. The most part of 
their public divine service they perform in the morn- 
ing, before day, which is very commendable, and I 
have been greatly pleased to meet hundreds of Ar- 

* Sir P. RicAUT, p. 443. — Others affirm, that the Arme- 
nians are so far from worshipping images, in any sort, that 
they even excommunicate those who pay them religious 
veneration, and some think that they have always been of 
the same sentiments on this head. 

See Pictet's True and FaLve Religmi examined, trans- 
lated by Bruce, p. 202. 

See also Dr. Pagitt's Christianografihy, p. 80, where it 
appears that this is admitted, even by Cardinal Baronius. 

In the JVouveaiix Memoires des Missions de la Camfiagni^ 
de Jesus, torn, iii. p. 1 — 218, there is an ample^and circum- 
stantial account both of the civil and religious state of the 
Armenians. Most of the other authors, who have treated 
of this branch of Ecclesiastical History, are enumerated 
by Fabricius, in his Lux E-oangelil toti orbi exoriens, ch. 
xxxviii. p. 640; to which may be added, J.e Quien's Orient 
C/iristfanus,\.om, i. p. l?6'2. 


menians in a summer morning about sun-rising, 
returning from their devotions at the church, 
wherein, perhaps, they had spent two hours before, 
not only on festixal, but on ordinary days of work : 
in hke manner, they are very devout on vigils to 
feasts, and Saturday evenings, when they all go to 
church, and, returning home, perfume their houses 
with incense, and adorn their little pictures with 
lamps. In their monasteries the whole Psalter of 
David is read over every twenty^four hours : but, 
in the cities and parochial churches, it is otherwise 
observed: for the Psalter*is divided into eight di- 
visions, and every division into eight parts ; at the 
end of every one of which is said the Gloria Patriy 

The Armeniaji is the language that is still used 
in the services of this church ;f and in her rites and 
ceremonies there is so great a resemblance to those 
of the Greeks, that a particular detail here might be 
superfluous. Their liturgies also are either essen- 
tially tlie same with those of the Greeks, or are at 
least ascribed to the some authors. And the fasts 
which they observe annually are not only more nu- 
merous, but ke})t with gi'eater rigour and mortifica- 
tion than is usual in any other Christian community. 

* Sir P. RicAUT, pp. 407-8. M, Tavcrnier observes, that 
"they all put off their shoes before they go into church. 
Nor do the Armenians kneel, as in Europe, but stand all 
the while upright." — Lib. i. c. 3. 

t *' Omncs assistanles linguam Armenicam, qua, utitur 
Sacerdos, intelli^unt." 

Cassand. Litur. cap. xiii. p. 31. So also Chitraus, &c. 


" They mix the whole course of the year with fasting, 
but the times seem so confused, and. without rule, 
tliat they can scarce be recounted, unless by those 
who live amongst them, and strictly observe them; 
-it being the chief care of the priest, whose learning 
principally consists in knowing the appointed times 
of fasting and feasting, the which they never omit 
on Sunda}'s to publish unto the people.'^ — " They 
have many other days enjoined them in comme- 
moration of saints, which are so many, that there 
is not one day in the whole year which is not either 
appointed for a fast, or noted for a festival."* 

In addition to these fasts, they fast on Wednes- 
days and Fridays throughout the year, except in 
the w'eeks between Easter and Ascension Day, and 
in that which follows the feast of the Epiphany. — 
Their seasons of fotetivity correspond, in general, 
with those of other churches, except that they 
commemorate our Lord's nativity, not on the 25th 
of December, but on die 6th of January, thereby 
celebrating in one festival his birth, epiphany, and 
baptism. t 

* Sir P. RicAUT, pp. 419, 422. John "Avedioiviiea, an 
Armenian priest, says that they have 156 fast days in the 
year. See his Relation of the Religion and Customs of the 
Armenian Christians in Dr. Pagitt's Christianografihy, pp. 

t Dr. Cave, speaking of the feast of Christmas in the 
first part of his Primitive Christianity, says, <; it seems 
probable, that for a long time in the East, it was kept in 
January, under the name and at the general time of the 
Ep.iphania^ (or Theophany,) until, receiving more light 
VOL. I, 3 L 


Their most fa\ourite saints, who have each ol 
ihem a day in tlie kalender, are S'lrf) Sctvorich^ or 
St. Gregory, Surjj Chci'urich^ or St. Demetrius, 
Siirj) .\'ico/o, and Si/rp Scrc/iis, or St. George. 

The word Sarirnncnt not being imderstood 
among tlie Armenians, Sir P. Ricaut could not 
ascertain A\hether the\' held seven or two. The 
seven sacraments of the Chiirch of Rome aie, 
however, adopted of course by those of them who 
receive the Confession of 1674; and, I presume, 
the assertion in the Encijcl. Br/t.^* " that the Ar- 
menians have seven sacraments. — baptism, confir- 
mation, penance, the eucharist, exti^eme unction, 
orders, and matrimony," should be confined to 
this part of their church. 

They practise the ti-ine immersion, which they 
consider to be essential to baptism; and, " after 
baptism, they apply the Mirun or Chrism, anoint- 
ing the forehead, eyes, ears, breast, palms of the 
hands, and soles of the feet, with consecrated oil, 
in form of a cross ; and then they administer unto 
the child the holy eucharist, which they do only 
by rubbing the lips with it. — SiirJ) Usiitii, as they 
call the holy eucharist, they celebrate only on 
Sundays and festi\ als, though, on other days, they 
perform the public services of the church: where- 
by it appears, that they have other morning ser- 
vices besides that of the communion. They put 

in llic case from the churches of llie West, ihcy clianged 
it to this day," /. e. 2.5th Uccember. 
• Art. .drineiiia. 


no water into the wine, nor leaven into the bread, 
as do the Greeks ; and their manner of distributing 
the communion is by sopping the bread into wine, 
so that the communicant receives both species to- 
gether, which is different from the form and cus- 
tom of the Latin, Greek, and Reformed Churches. 
They differ from the Greeks, in that they admini- 
ster bread unleavened, made like a wafer; they 
differ from the Romans, in that they give both spe- 
cies to the lait}% which the priest cloth by putting 
his fingers into the chalice, out of which he takes 
the wafer soaked in the wine, and deli^•ers that 
unto the communicant."* 

Their Liturgy was printed at Rome in 1642, 
Avith a Latin ti'anslation, " but," says Mr. Brough- 
ton, " the Roman censors have reformed (or cor- 
rupted) it in several places."t 

Church Government and Discipline. 
— When the Armenians withdrev/ from the com- 
munion of the Greek church, they made no 
change in their ancient episcopal form of church 
government: they only claimed the privilege of 
choosing their owti spiritual rulers. The name 
and office of patriarch was continued; but three^ 
or according to Sir Pi Ricaut,yo7/r prelates, shared 
that dignity. The chief of these resides in the 

* Sir P. RicAUT, p. 432, Sec. For a more full account 
of the particular institutions and rites of the Armenians, 
see Gemelli Carreri's Voyage du tour du Afonde, torn. ii. 
pp. 4 — 10, 146, &c. 

t Historical Libr. vol. ii. p. 24. 


monastery at Ekmiazin^ near Erivan^ and at tlie 
foot of Mount Ararat^ in Turcomania ; his juris- 
diction extends over Turcomania, or Armenia 
Major, and he is said to number among his suffra- 
gans no fewer than forty-two archbishops, each of 
whom may claim the obedience of four or five suf- 
fragans.* His opulent revenues of 600,000 
crowns, are considered only as a fund for his nu- 
merous charities : for, though elevated to the high- 
est rank of ecclesiastical power and preferment, he 
rejects all the splendid insignia of authority ; and, in 
his ordinary dress, and mode of living, he is on a 
level with the poorest monastic. Nay, the Arme- 
nians seem to place much of their religion in fast- 
ings and abstinences ; and, among the clergy, the 
higher the degree, the lower they must live, inso- 
much, that it is said the archbishops live on noth- 
ing but pulse. 

This prelate is, for the most part, elected to his 
patriarchal dignity by the suffrages of the bishops 
assembled at Ekm'mz'in^ and his election is con- 
firmed by the solemn approbation of the Persian 

The second patriarch of the Armenians, who is 
called The Catholic, and at present acknowledges 
his subordination to the patriarch of Ekmiazin,, 

* Father Simon has subjoined to his Crit. Hist. (p. 184, 
Sec.) a list of the churches that are subject to this grand 
patriarch. But this list, though taken from Uscanus, an 
Armenian bishop, is said by Dr. Mosheim to be " defec- 
tive in many respects" 


resides at Cis, a city near Tarsus in Cilicia, rules 
over the churches estabhshed in Cappadocia, Ci- 
licia, Cyprus, and Syria, and hath twelve archbi- 
shops under his jurisdiction. 

The third, and last in rank of the Armenian 
patriarchs, who has no more tlian eight or nine 
bishops under his dominion, resides in the island 
of Jghtamar, or Aghtainan, which is in the midst 
of the great lake of Fan, or Varaspuracan, " and 
is looked upon by the other Armenians as the 
enemy of their church.""* 

" Besides these prelates, v»ho are pati'iarchs in 
the true sense of that term, the Armenians have 
other spiritual leaders, who ai'e honoured with the 
title of patiiarch ; but tliis indeed is no more than 
an empty title, unattended with the authority and 
prerogatives of the patriarchal dignity. Thus, tli£ 
aixhbishop of the Armenians, who lives at Con- 
stantinople, and whose authority is respected by 
the churches established in those provinces that 
form the connexion between Europe and Asia, en- 
joys the title of patriarch. The same denomina- 
tion is given to the Armenian bishop who resides 
at Jerusalem ; and to the prelate of the same nation, 
wlio has his episcopal seat at Caminic in Poland, 
and go^'erns the Armenian churches that are es- 
tablished in Russia, Poland, and the adjacent 

* Dr. Mosheim's £cc/es. Hist. vol. iv. p. 262. It would 
no doubt have been acceptable to many of the Doctor's 
readers, had he told them for what reason or reasons this 
patriarch is thus viewed by the other Armenians. 


countries. These bishops assume the title of pa- 
triarchs, on account of some peculiar privilej^es 
confen-ed on them by the great patiiarch of Ek- 
7niazhi. For, by an authority derived from this 
supreme head of the Armenian church, they are 
allowed to consecrate bishops, and to make, every 
third year, and distribute among their congrega- 
tions, the holy Chrism or ointment, which, ac- 
cording to a constant custom among the Eastern 
Christians^ is the privilege of the patriarch alone."* 

In the Armenian church, as in the Greek, a 
monastery is considered as the only proper semi- 
nary for dignified ecclesiastics ; for it seems to be 
a tenet of their church, that abstinence in diet, and 
austerit}^ of manners, should increase with prefer- 
ment. Hence, though their priests are permitted 
to marry once, their patriarchs and mastabets^ (or 
martabets) i. e. bishops, must remain in a state of 
sti-ict celibacy ; at least, no married priest can be 
promoted in their church until he shall have be- 
come a widower. It is likewise necessar}-, that 
their dignified clergy should have assumed the 
sanctimonious air of an ascetic. 

* Dr. Mosheim, as above. Sir P. Ricaut observes, that 
they have a patiiarch likewise at Smyrjia, and that Arme- 
nian patriarchs are appointed for several places subject to 
the Turks, to please and content them, who require snch 
a chief " wherever trade hath convocalcd great numbers 
of the Armenian nation, that they may know from whom 
they muy exact the money and presents at a new investi- 
ture, and may charge on him all those jivanias or false 
pretences, which they find most agreeable to their own 
advantage." — Pp. 391-3. 


Their monastic discipline is exti-emely severe. 
The religious neither eat flesh nor drink wme; 
they sometimes continue in prayer from midnight 
till three o'clock in the afternoon, during which 
time they are required to read the Psalter through, 
besides many other spii'itual exercises. 

The orders or regulations by which they are 
governed are those of St. Gregory, St. Basil, and 
St. Dominic, the last of which was evidently in- 
troduced by the Romish missionaries, who gained 
a footing in Armenia about the beginning of the 
fourteenth century.* But the abstinence and mor- 
tification of conventual ecclesiastics is surpassed 
by the Gickniahore or hermits, who devote their 
lives wholly to contemplation, and dwell on the 
tops of rocks, confined thereunto almost as closely 
as Simeon Stijlites was to his pillar. 

" Of the Armenian clergy in general, the situa- 
tion is truly deplorable, as the chief part of their 
income arises from what we call surplice fees, in 
the exaction of v.-hich they are" (said to be) " en- 
croaching and importunate beyond measure. Their 
extreme ignorance, even of their o\vn doctrine, is 
palliated, if possible, by their wretched and abject 
state. A principal function among them is the 
reading of prayers over the graves of the deceased, 
continued even for years, and many of these poor 

* See below, p. 457. 

Sir P. Ricaut says, that in his time there were ten mo- 
nasteries of Armenisn monks of the order of St. Dominic, 
p. 427. 


priests are seen daily at Constantinople so occu- 
pied, especially in the Armenian cemetery at the 
Campo de' mortiP^ 

Miscellaneous Remarks. — Ekmiaziii, the 
patriarchal seat, is sometimes called Ouch Chilse^ 
or the three churches, from the three churches 
which are built there, in the figure of a triangle, 
viz. Mkmiazm., Riipsameh, and Gayeneh. It is 
likewise called Changlee-Chilse^ or the church 
with bells, having a privilege to use them, which is 
never or seldom granted to Christian chmxhes in 
the East, unless to those in Moldavia, Walachia, 
on Mount Athos, and in the peninsula of India. 

The superstitious veneration with which the 
Armenians regard the monastery of Ehmazin, in 
Avhich, as already observed, the chief of their re- 
ligion resides, is supported by legendary miracles. 
The more devout make a pilgrimage there once in 
their lives as a point of conscience, like the Greeks 
to Jerusalem, and the Mohammedans to Mecca, 
when they receive, in exchange for their offerings, 
a salutary benediction, and various endowments.! 

Siirp Scworich^ or St. Gregory, is so high in 
esteem among the Armenians, that their patri- 
arch, Moses the II., in a sjnod held in the city of 
Tevin^ fixed the year 551, the supposed date of 

* Mr. Dallaway's Co7istantino/ile, p. 387, where may 
be seen a remarkable instance of the way in which these 
mortuary compliments are conducted. 

t See Sir P. Ricaut, p. 396, &c. 


his preaching and of the conversion of their na- 
tion to the Christian faith, for the commencement 
of their era, and made asti'onomical calculations to 
regulate their moveable feasts. According there- 
fore to their calculation, the currrent year (1808) 
is 1257. 

Some of the Armenian provinces embraced the 
doctrines and discipline of Rome so early as the 
fourteenth century, under the pontificate of John 
XXII., who, in the year 1318, sent them a Do- 
minican monk to go\'ern their church, with the 
title and authority of an archbishop. The epis- 
copal seat of this spiritual ruler was first fixed at 
Adorbigana^ in the district of Soldania; but was 
afterwards transfeiTed to Naxivan^ where it still 
remains in the hands of the Dominicans, who alone 
are admitted to that ghostly dignity. The Ai'me- 
nian churches in Poland, who have embraced the 
faith of Rome, have also their bishop, who resides 
at Lemherg.^ 

* Dr. Mosheim's Ecd. Hist. vol. iv. p. 275, 

VOL. I. 





Names, Rise, History, &.r. — The deno- 
mination of Christians now to be considered, who 
are frequently called Vlmldcpam^ from the country 
where they long principally resided, derive the 
name of Nestarians, by \\hich thev are more gene- 
rally kno\Nn, from Xestoniis^ a S) rian and jxitriarch 
of Constantinople, in the beginning of the fifth 
centun;-; " a man," says Dr. Ahjsheim, " remaik- 
able for his learning and eloquence, uhich A\ere, 
how c\ er, accompanied a\ ilh much le^ itv, and w ith 
intolerable arrogance;"' and, it may be added, w iiii 
violent enmity to all the sectaries. 

The occasion of the fatal controAcrsy in \\hich 
he iinoK cd the church, was furnished by Anasta- 
sius, who was honoured w ith his friendship. 

This presbyter, in a j)ui)lic discourse, delivered 
in 424, declaimed warmly against the tide of 


Gtor cKo;, oY Mot/ict' of God^ which was then frequent- 
ly attributed to tlie Virgin Mary in the controversy 
Avitb the Arians, giving it as his opinion that the 
Holy Virgin was rather to be called x/j/ittotoxoc, i. e. 
Mother of Christy since tlie Deity can neither be 
born nor die, and, of consequence, the Son of man 
alone could derive his birth from an earthly parent. 
jXestorius applauded these sentiments, and explain- 
ed and defended them in several discourses. But 
both he and his friend were keenly opposed by cer- 
tain monks at Constantinople, who maintained that 
the Son of Mary was God incarnatey and excited 
the zeal and fury of the populace against him, from 
an idea that he had revived the error of Paidus 
Samosatenus and Photinus, who taught that Jesus 
Christ was a mere man. His discourses were, 
however, well received in many places, and had 
the majority on their side, particularly among the 
monks of Egypt, though in opposition to the senti- 
ments and wishes of Cyril, " a man of haughty, 
turbulent, and imperious temper," who then ruled 
the see of Alexandria. The consequence was, that 
Cyril and Nestorius reciprocally anathematised each 
other ;* and when there was no prospect of an ami- 
cable issue to this dispute, Theodosius the younger 
called a council at Ephesus, A. D. 431, which was 
the third general council in the annals of the church. 
In this council Cyril presided, though he was a 

* In a council assembled at Alexandria in 430, Cyril issued 
twelve anathemas against Nestorius, who excommunicated 
him in his turn, on the ground of his abetting the Apolli- 
narian heresy, and confounding the two natures of Christ 


party concerned, and the avowed enemy of Nes- 
torius ; and, in the absence of ./o/?w, bishop of An- 
tioch, and the other eastern bishops, pushed on 
matters ^y'n]\ a lawless violence, so that Nestorius, 
A\ho refused to obey the summons which called 
him to appear before a council where every thing 
was carried on in so in'egular and unfair a manner, 
was judged and condemned without being heard,* 
deprived of his episcopal dignity, and banished to 
Petra in Arabia, and after\\ards to Oasis^ in the 
deserts of Egypt, where he died in 435, f or accord- 
ing to others, not till after 439. 

This council, instead of healing these divisions, 
did but inflame them more and more; for John of 
Antioch, and the other eastern bishops, for whose 
arrival Cyril had refused to wait, met at Ephesus, 
and pronounced against him and Memium^ bishop 
of that city, as severe a sentence as they had 
thundered against Nestorius. Hence arose a new 

* " His offers of accommodation were refused, his ex- 
planations were not read, liis submission was rejected, and 
lie was condemned unheard." 

Dr. M'Laink's note (s) to Dr. Mosiikim's Eccl. Hist. 
vol. li. p. 71. See also ibid. p. 69, note (n). 

t In this I have, as usual, followed Dr. Mosheim. M. 
Du Pin says, that the " emperor ordered that Nestorius 
slioukl return to his monastery," which was that of St. 
Eu/irefitus at Antioch, and that he was afterwards driven 
from his monastery, and banisiied to Oasis, in 435, when 
his books were condemned to the flames. But diff'crent 
authors seem to assign different places as the scenes of his 
letreat, as well as different dates lor his death. 


a new and obstinate dissension between Cyril and 
the Orientals, ^dth John at their head ; this, ho* ' 
ever, was soon allayed through the interferev; c 
of the emperor, who persuaded John to conforru f.o 
the decrees of the Ephesian council ; but the com- 
motions, which arose from this fatal controversy, 
were more durable in the East, where nothing 
could oppose the progress of Nestorianism. The 
friends of the persecuted prelate carried his doc- 
trine through all the Oriental provinces, and every 
where erected congi'egations which professed an 
in\incible opposition to the decrees of the council 
of Ephesus. The Persians, among others, opposed 
C}Til in the most vigorous manner, maintained that 
Nestorius had been unjustly condemned at Ephe- 
sus, and charged Cyril with removing that distinc- 
tion which subsists between the tivo natures in 
Christ. But nothing tended so much to propagate 
with rapidity the doctrine of Nestorius, as its being- 
received in the famous school at Edessa^ where 
the youth were instructed in the Nestorian tenets ; 
and the writings of Nestorius, and of his masters, 
the renowned Theodorus of Mopsuestia^ and Dio- 
dorus of Tarsus, were translated from the Greek 
into the Syriac language, and spread abroad through- 
out Assyria and Persia. And the famous Barsu- 
'i?ias, who wsls ejected out of his place in this school, 
and consecrated bishop of Awi(6w in 435, laboured 
with incredible zeal and dexterity lo procure for the 
Nestorians a solid and permanent footing in Persia, 
in which he was warmly seconded by Maanes, 
bishop of Ardascira. So remarkable was the suc- 
cess which crowned the labours of Barsumasy that 


his fame extended throughout the East ; and the 
Nestorians, who still remain in Chald^ea, Persia, 
Assyria, and the adjacent countries, consider him 
alone as their parent and founder. Nor did his 
zeal and activit}' end here ; for he erected a famous 
school at Nisibis, from whence issued those Nes- 
torian doctors, \^ho, in that and the following cen- 
turies, spread abroad their tenets through Egypt, 
Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, and China. / 

In the tenth century the Nestorians extended 
their spiritual conquests beyond Mount. Imaus, and 
introduced the Christian religion into Tartary, pro- 
perly so called, and especially into the countiy 
called Karit^ bordering on the northern part of 
China. The prince of that country, \\hom they 
converted to the Christian faith, assumed, accord- 
ing to the vulgar tradition, the name of John after 
his baptism, to which he added the sirname of 
Presbyter^ from a principle of modesty ; whence it 
is said that his successors were, each of them, 
called Presbyter^ or Prester John^ until the time of 
Gerigisj or Gerichiz Khaji.^ 

The Nestorians formed so considerable a body 
of Christians, that the Romanists were industrious 
in their endea^'ours to reduce them under the pa- 

* Accordin.s: to Dr. Moslicim, Preater John, whose king- 
ly name was Ungclnm^ was a Nesiorian priest, wlio invad- 
ed that country about the end of the eleventh century ; and 
it was his immediate successor that was deposed by Gench'n 
JKhan^ towards the end of the followine; century. 

See his Eccles. Hist. vol. iii. p. 9, Sec. 


pal yoke ; and, with this view, Innocent IV., in 
1246, and Nicolas III., in 1578, used their utmost 
efforts by means of Franciscan and Dominican 
missionaries, but without success. 

However, about the middle of the fifteenth cen- 
tuiy, these missionaries gained over to their com- 
munion a small number of Nestorians, whom they 
formed into a congregation or church; the pa- 
triarchs or bishops of which reside in the city of 
Amida or Diarbeke?^ and successively assume the 
name oi Joseph * 

In the earliest ages of Nestorianism, the vari- 
ous branches of that numerous and povvcrful sect 
were under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Catholic 
or patriarch of Babylon, a vague appellation, which 
has been successively applied to the sees of Seleu- 
cia, Ctesiphon, and Bagdad,]' but who now resides 

^ Di-. Mosheim's £ccl. Hint. vol. iv. p. 274. — Not 
having access at present to the authorities which Dr. M. 
here produces, and having not yet observed this conver- 
sion noticed by any other author of credit, I am at a loss to 
know how to reconcile this with vol. v. p. 264, where he 
seems to write as if it had not taken place till about the 
middle of the seventeenth century. I have, however, pre- 
ferred the earlier date. 

t Hence, according to M. Dii Pin and others, their first 
episcopal sees were at Stleucia and Ctc&i/ihoiite^ whence 
they were removed to Bagdad, on the conquest cf Persia 
by the Mohammedans. iVi. Du Pin likewise observes, 
that they have a patriarch at Antioch. 

Some think that Mousiil stands on the sciic of the an- 
cient Nineveh. 


at MousuL But, in the sixteenth century, the 
Nestorians were divided into two sects; for, in 
1551, a warm dispute arose among them about the 
creation of a new patriarcli, Simeon Barnabas, or 
Barniana, being proposed by one part}-, and Sii- 
laka, otherwise named Siud, earnestly desired by 
the other; when the latter, to support his preten- 
sions the more effectually, repaired to Rome, and 
was consecrated patriarch in 1553, by Pope Julius 
III., whose jurisdiction he had acknowledged, and 
to whose commands he had promised unlimited 
submission and obedience. Upon this new Chal- 
dean patriarch's return to his own countr)% Julius 
sent with him several persons skilled in the Syriac 
lane;uas:e, to assist him in establishins: and extend- 
ing the papal empire among the Nestorians ; and, 
from that time, that unhappy people have been di- 
A ided into two factions, and have often been in- 
volved in the greatest dangers and difficulties, by 
the jarring sentiments and perpetual quarrels of 
their, patriarchs. In 1555, Simeon Denha, arch- 
bishop of Gelii, adoi)ted the party of the fugitive 
patriarch, who had embraced the communion of 
the Latin Church; and, being afterwards chosen 
patriarch himself, fixed his residence in the city of 
Fan or Ormia, in the mountainous parts of Persia, 
^\ here his successors still continue, and are all dis- 
tinguished by the name of Simeon;* but they 
seem of late to have withdrawn themselves from 
tJieir communion w ith the Church of Rome. 

* Suiaka, llicir first patriarch, was named John, upon his 
consecration by Pope Julius. 


The great Nestorian pontiffs, who form the op- 
posite party, and who have, since 1559, been dis- 
tinguishing by the general denomination of Elias, 
and reside constantly at Mousul, look with an hos- 
tile eye on this litde patriarch: but since 1617, the 
bishops of Onnus have been in so low and de- 
clining a state, both in point of opulence and cre- 
dit, that they are no longer in a condition to excite 
the envy of their brethren at Moiisid, whose spirit- 
ual dominion is very extensive, taking in a great 
part of Asia, and comprehending also within its 
circuit the Arabian Nestorians, as also the Chris- 
tians of St. Thomas, who dwell along the coast of 

In the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
Elias II., bishop of Mousul, discovered a desire to 
bring about a reconciliation between the Nesto- 
rians and the Church of Rome; and, with that 
view, sent two private embassies to the Pope in 
1607 and 1610. Elias III., likewise in 1657, ad- 
dressed a letter to the congregratTon De propaganda 
Fide, in which he intimated his readiness to join 
with the Church of Rome, " on condition that the 
Pope would allow the Nestorians a place of pub- 
lic worship in that city, and w ould abstain from all 

* The Nestorians are said to take the name of Eastern 
Christians exclusively ; and they doubtless have some 
claim to it, as comparatively few other native Christians 
reside east of the Tigris, except Armenians, who, like the 
Jews, are to be found in most countries wherein any thing 
is to be made by trade and commerce. 
VOL. I. 3 N 


attempts to alter the doctrine or discipline of that 
sect." But it does not appear that the Nestorians 
were received, on these terms, into the commu- 
nion of the Romish Church, or that the bishops of 
Mousul have been, since that period, at all solici- 
tous about the friendship or good-will of the Ro- 
man pontiff'; on the contrary, they seem to persist 
in their refusal to enter into the communion of the 
Chm'ch of Rome. 

The Nestorian bishops of Ormus likewise, since 
their withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the Ro- 
man Church, have sent the Pope a confession of 
their faith, giving a clear idea of their religious te- 
nets and institutions, and have made repeated pro- 
posals of reconciliation. " But these proposals 
were little attended to by the court of Rome, which 
was either owing to its dislike of the doctrine of 
these Nestorians, or to that contempt which their 
poverty and want of influence excited in the pon- 
tiffs, \\hose ambition and avidity aimed at acquisi- 
tions of more consequence.'** 

Distinguishing Doctrines, Sec. — The 
Nestorians have several doctrines, as well as some 
religious ceremonies and institutions, that are pe- 
culiar to themselves. But the main points that 
distinsruish them from all other Christian socie- 
ties, besides their believing that the Virgin Mary 
was not the mother of our Lord as God^ but only 
as jnauy are, their persuasion that Nestorius was 

* Dr. MosHEiM, vol. V. p. 264. 


unjustly condemned by the council of Ephesus,* 
and their firm attachment to the doctrine of that 
prelate, \^ ho maintained that there were not only 
two natures, but also two distinct persons in the 
Son of God. 

" In the earlier ages of the church, this error 
Was looked upon as of the most momentous and 
pernicious kind ; but in our times it is esteemed 
of less consequence, by persons of the greatest 
weight and authority in theological matters, even 
among the Roman Catholic doctors. They con- 
sider this whole controversy as a dispute about 
words, and the opinion of Nestorius as a nominal, 
rather than a real heresy ; ?'. e, as an error arising 
ratlier from the words he employed, than from his 
intention in the use of them. It is true, indeed, 
that the Chaldasans attribute to Christ two natures, 
and even two persons; but they correct what may 
-seem rash in this expression, by adding, that these 
natures and persons are so closely and intimately 
united, that they have only one aspect. Now, the 
word harsopa, by which they express this aspect, 
is precisely of the same signification with the 
Greek word ufrxrmTro^, which signifies a person; and 
from hence it is evident, that they attached to the 
word aspect the same idea that we attach to the 
word person, and that they understood by the word 
person, precisely what we understand by the term 
nature. However that be, Ave must obsen^e here, 

* They, of course, reject all the general councils subse- 
quent to that of Ephesus. 


to the lasting honour of the Nestorians, that, of all 
the Christian societies established in the East, 
they have been the most careful and successful in 
avoiding a multitude of superstitious opinions and 
practices that have infected the Greek and Latin 

Although the Nestorians have fixed their habi- 
tations chiefly in Mesopotamia and the adjacent 
countries, they are to be found throughout the 
east of Asia, as in Tartary, India, &c. in greater 
numbers than any othersect of Christians, whence 
the- not 0..I} call themselves the Eastern Chris- 
tians, as already observed, but are sometimes so 
called, >taT f^ox^v, by otliers. And, although they 
speak the langiages of the different countries 
wherein they reside, they all, even the Christians 
of St. Thomas, use only the Chaldee or Syriac in 
their Liturgies and church-services. Father Si- 
mon, who had a manuscript copy of their Litur- 
gies, tells us, that they are three in number, viz. 
*' That of the Twelve Apostles; that of Theodurus 
of Mopsuestia, simamed the Interpreter ; and a 
third under the name of ^S*^. Nestoriiis.^^\ 

They celebrate the Eucharist with leavened 

* Dr. Mosheim's Ecd. Hist, vol, iv. p. 264, where see 
the works to which he refers for further information on 
this subject. See also ibid, in vol. ii. pp. 73-4, their 
doctrine as it was determined in several councils assem- 
bled at Seleucia in the fifth century. 

t They may be seen as translated into Latin by Masiiis, 
in the 4th vol. of the Biblioiheca Patrum, 


bread, and administer it in both kinds : they do 
not worship images, and tliey allow their clergy to 
marry once, twice, and even thrice ;* but whether 
this liberty extends to the regular clergy, I have 
not yet been able to ascertain. 

Their monks are habited in a black gown, tied 
with a leathern girdle, and wear a blue turban ; 
and their nuns must be forty years old before they 
take the monastic habit, which is much the same 
with that of the monks, except that they tie a kind 
of black veil about their heads, and about their 
chins, t 

* " Sacerdotes, mortua prima uxore, secundas et ulteri- 
ores faciunt nuptias." — Tho. a Jesu, lib. vii. 

t Sergius, the person, or one of the persons, supposed 
to have assisted Mohammed in writing the Koran^ is said 
to have been a Nestorian monk.— See above, p. 266. 






With regard to the Nestorians who inhabit 
the coast of Malabar and Travancore, and are 
commonly called the Christians of St. Thomas^ 
and, by some, the St. Thome Chiistians^ there ex- 
ists much difference of opinion as to their origin. 
The Portuguese, who first opened the navigation 
of India, in the fifteenth century, and found them 
seated there for ages, assert that St. Thomas, the 
apostle, preached the gospel in India;* and that 

* Tradition says, that the Indian missionary, St. Tho- 
mas, an apostle, a Manichaean, or an Armenian merchant, 
suffered martyrdom in the city of Maubar, or Mdiafiour, 
near Madras, on the coast of Coromandel, which the Por- 
tuguese call the town of St. Thomas., where a grand 
and stately cathedral or church was erected to his memo- 
ry. Besides this town, the Christians of St. Thomas for- 
merly inhabited Cranganore, Negapatan, Angamala, &c. 
But most of the Christians within the archbishoprick of 
this last place, which was the ancient Metropolitan see, 
are now said to be in communion with the see of Rome. 


these are the descendants of his proselytes, whose 
faith had been subsequently perverted by the un- 
wary admission of the Nestorian bishops from Mou- 
sul. Others observe, that Mar, or St. Thome, is 
considered by the Nestorians as the first who in- 
troduced Christianity into Malabar in the fifth or 
sixth century, and as their first bishop and found- 
er, from whom they deri\'e the name of St. Tho- 
me Christians; and others, that they were origi- 
nally a colony of Nestorians, ^vho fled from the 
dominions of the Greek emperors, after Theodo- 
sius the 11. had commenced die persecution of 
that sect. But Mr. Gibbon asserts, on the audio- 
tity of St. Jerome, that the Indian missionary St. 
' Thomas, whoever he was, was famous as early as 
his' time. Now, Jerome died in 420; conse- 
.quently, - the sect established in Malabar by St. 
Thomas, could not have been that of Nestorius. 
Yet Mr. G. himself appears to have overlooked 

• ..ttjtis. inconsistency. But whatever may have been 
4^e particular time of their arrival, little doubt can 

. temain that it was at an early period of Christianity, 
iind that they were originally a colony fi'om Syria, 
when, to historical dates we add " the name of Sy- 
rians retained by them, their distinct features and 
complexion somewhat fairer than the rest of the 
Malabars, the style of their building, especially 
their churches, but, aboA^e all, the general use of 
the Syrian, or rather Chaldean language, which is 
preserved to this day in all their religious functions, 
even in those churches which have since embraced 
the Roman rites, and that to this day they take their 


Christian and family names from the Syrian and 
Chaldean idiom.''* 

They suffered innumerable vexations, and the 
most grievous persecutions from the Romish 
priests, while the Portuguese possessed the chief 
settlements on the coast of Malabar ; but neither 
artifice nor violence could engage them to embrace 
the communion of Rome, till about the end of the 
sixteenth century, when Don Alexis De Menezes^ 
archbishop of Goa^ calling the Jesuits to his assist- 
ance, and using the most violent and unwarrant- 
able means,f obliged the greater part of this un- 
happy and reluctant people to adopt the religion of 
Rome, and to acknowledge the Pope's supreme 
jurisdiction ; against both of which acts they had 
always expressed the utmost abhorrence.^ But 

* Account of the St. Thom^ Christians on the coast of 
Malabar, by F. Wrede, Esq. in vol. vii. of the Jsiatic 

t For an account of the Christians of St. Thomas, and of 
the rough methods employed by Menezes to gain them 
over to the Church of Rome, see Geddes's Ch. Hist, of 
Malabar, and La Croze's Histoire du Christianisme des 
Indes, in 2 vols. 12mo. 1758. 

t Their ancient faith seems to have differed very widely 
from the faith of the modern Church of Rome; for, in the 
14th decree of the Synod of Diamfier, held by Mrnezcs in 
1599, most of their church-offices and other books are 
condemner' for containing doctrines contrary to the Roman 
faith; and particular notice is there taken of their contra- 
diciing the doctrine of the Churcii of Rome on the point 
of ir.insubstaritiation. 

See Bishop Patrick's Full View of the Doctrines and 


when Cochin was taken by the Dutch in 1663, and 
the Portuguese were driven out of these quarters, 
^vhile those of the native Christians who still ad- 
hered to the Church of Rome were tolerated and 
treated with indulgence, the persecuted Nestorians 
resumed their primitive liberty, and were reinstated 
in the privilege of serving God without molesta- 
tion, according to their consciences. These bless- 
ings they continue to enjoy, and Mr. Wrede reck- 
ons thirty-two churches, who, he obsen^es, still ad- 
here to the doctrines of Nestorius, but he contrasts 
the misery of the present race with the opulence of 
their ancestors. 

On the other hand, the Rev. Dr. Buchanan, 
Vice-Provost of the College oi Fort-William^ who 
visited these Christians in 1806, and counts fifty- 
five churches in Malayala* denies that they are 
Nestorians, and observes that their doctrines " are 
contained in a very few articles, and are not at va- 
riance in essentials with the doctrines of the Church 
of England. They are usually denominated Jaco- 
bitc£,-\ but they differ in ceremonial from the church 

Practices of the Ancient Church relating to the Eucharist, 
&c. 4to. p. 115. 

* Malayala comprehends the mountains and the whole 
region within them, from Cape Comorin to Cape lili. 
Whereas the province of Malabar^ commonly so called, 
contains only the northern districts, not including the coun- 
try ©f Travancore. 

t Their Liturgy, Dr. B. tells us, is derived from that of 
the early church of Antioch, called « Liturgia Jacobi jifios' 

VOL. I. 3 O 


of that name in Syria, and indeed from any exist- 
ing church in the ^vorld. — Their proper designa- 
tion, and that ^hich is sanctioned by their own 
use, is Syrian Christians^ or Tlie Syrian Church 
ofAIalayalaP Yet the Doctor remarks, that they 
acknowledge " die patriarch of Antioch," and that 
they are connected M'ith certain churches in Meso- 
potamia and Syria, 215 in number, and labourbig 
under circumstances of discouragement and dis- 
tress: but he does not say whether it is to the 
Greek or the Jacobite patiiarch of Antioch that 
tliey are subject. 

Dr. Mosheim observes, that before, or about 
the middle of the last centur) , the Jacobites had 
gained over to their communion a part of the 
Nestorians in India; if then these Christians, as 
we are now told, ha^'e rejected the docti'ine of 
Nestorius, and are known by the name of Jaco- 
hita^ while, at the s^me time, they ackno^\ ledge 
a patriarch of Antioch, may we hence conclude 
that they are no\v, as a body, to be ranked in the 
number of Jacobites, and that it is the Jacobite 
patriarch whom they acknowledge ? Such a con- 
clusion may no doubt be dra\\n, not\\ithstanding 
what Dr. B. has said as to their differing from 
tliem " in ceremonial," for this they may do, and 
yet agree with them in doctrine. But, considering 
the long and steady adherence of the Christians 

^o/z." — And, according to Mr. Gibbon, "The Jacobites 
themselves had rather deduce their name and pcdi.c;rce 
fronj St. James the Apostle." — The Decline and Fall, &c. 
vol. viii. p. 351, note 129. 


in India to the Nestorian doctrine, and that the 
missionaries of the Church of Rome could never 
prevail on any considerable part of them to for- 
sake it, without using for that end the most vio- 
lent and unwari'antable means, I have not ven- 
tured to depart from the generally received opinion 
of their still beina: Nestorians ; and I conclude, of 
course, that it is the jYestorian patriarch whom 
they acknowledge.* Let it not, however, be un- 
derstood, that I thus mean to call in question Dr. 
B.'s veracity, or his attention and discernment; I 
only hesitate to admit his account of these churches, 
till I find it stated in more definite and explicit lan- 
guage, or in terms better calculated to afford con- 
viction or satisfaction. I would likewise observe 
here, in justice to him, that the only account of 
his visit to these Christians, and of his report con- 
cerning them, tliat I have yet been able to meet 
with, is that given in the Christian Observer for 
October 1807. 

I. do not profess to know the particular object of 
the founders of the travelling fellowships in Oxford 
and Cambridge ; but if it was to ascertain the ex- 
istence, circumstances, situation, &c. of Christians 
in the East, and elsewhere, and to further the cause 
of true religion in the remoter corners of the world, 
as I think it very likely to have been, it is doubt- 

* It has already been observed, that Du Pin menuons a 
Nestorian patriarch of Antioch ; but, were there no such 
patria'cb at this day, there might be no great improbabili- 
ty in supposing the Christians of Malayala to give that title 
to the pontiff of Moiisuk 


less a matter of very serious regret, that so few of 
those who have held such fellowships, have essen- 
tially promoted the object of their founders. Witli 
such establishments for such purposes, and with 
various other means of knowledge and usefulness, 
what a pity is it that we should still be left in a 
great measure to conjecture in regard to the state 
and principles of the different Eastern Churches at 
this day, and that so little should yet have been 
done by us to alleviate the sufferings, correct the 
errors, enlarge the knowledge, and brighten the 
prospects of our Christian brethren in the East ! 

What Du Pin remarks of the history of the 
Greeks of the sixteenth centur}^, may be said of 
the history of the Greek and Eastern Churches in 
general at this day, — that it is that " with which 
we are very little acquainted, and which we con- 
cern ourselves but little about." 

So lame, indeed, and imperfect are the best ac- 
counts which we have of tlie Greeks and their 
Church, the most distinguished and best known 
of all the Eastern Churches, that an eminent and 
respectable divine of that communion, was pleased 
to observe, in writing the author of this work, after 
perusing his MS. on the subject of these Church- 
es, that he had " not met, in any foreign publi- 
cation, so good and so exact a description of the 
Greek Church, and mIhcIi has afforded him so 
much pleasure and information at the same time." 
&c. as that here presented to the reader, in a state 
very considerably improved by this divine's re- 


marks and corrections, and by his also kindly sup- 
plying the author with further means of valuable 
and authentic information. Aware that some, if 
not many, readers are but ill qualified to judge 
for themselves of the correctness of what is here 
said on the subject of tliese Churches, and not be- 
ing at liberty to publish the name of the writer of 
this letter, through whose kind assistance this ac- 
count of them is, in a great measure, what they 
will now find it, I have conceived it in a manner a 
duty which I owe to them, to lay before them his 
opinion of it, with a view to their satisfaction ; and 
if I have any other motive for so doing, it is that I 
might thus rouse others, on their perceiving how 
much we have yet to learn on this subject, to more 
minute inquiries into the present state and condition 
of those to whom, or to whose forefathers and pre- 
decessors, we are all very highly indebted, for as 
much as it was through the Greek and Eastern 
Christians that the light of the gospel was first com- 
municated to us, and, of course, that we derive all 
the comforts and blessings ^vhich we enjoy from 
our religion.